“True Blood” is often said to be a “Twilight” designed for adults – with sex and a lot of blood. What was the first thing you learnd about the series?
Alexander: I heard I was to play a Viking vampire. At first I thought that sounds a bit cheesy. But then I learned that Alan Ball [author and creative director of “True Blood”] was involved with series and that it is being produced for HBO. At the time I was working on “Generation Kill,” another HBO series. And that work was great, it was fantastic to work for HBO. The combination of HBO and Alan Ball convinced me that “True Blood” was definitely something which I wanted to be involved in.
What do you think when you read the sex scenes in the scripts?
Alexander: I’m super, that sounds great! Such scenes are only a problem if you feel exploited. If they make sense with the character and story, I have no problem with it. Then it’s fun.
It is also fun watching it. It there a lot of laughing during the shoots?
Alexander: Sure, we have a lot of fun.
Are there some moments that were particularly funny?
Alexander: There is always a great mood. “True Blood” has a great cast and an incredible crew. This is one of Alan’s strengths; is that he has great people around. Sometimes it’s really surreal: at the beginning of the third season I and another performer were put in uniform from the Second World War and hung on wires at seven clock in the morning – we were shooting an action scene. That was one of the moments in which we looked at us and said: So this is our job …
And you get paid well for it.
Alexander: Yes, it’s crazy!
In the last season you get to speak a little German.
Alexander: I have already been to Germany many times and learned German in school. Although only a year and I was not particularly good, but it is enough to speak the lines.
How do you explain the incredible success of “True Blood”?
Alexander: Alan manages to create a sort of soap opera – with cliff-hangers, the various relationships and characters. But it is a soap opera that was written by a genius. The relationships and the characters are authentic and we developed a great interest in them. The series appeals to intelligent viewers and is funny at the same time. “True Blood” is good entertainment, but it is more than an hour of fun and then you switch off the television and no longer think of it. There are society references on various levels, you’ll be entertained, but “True Blood” also shows a lot about us, as people, in society.
There are many vampire productions at the moment, what is the fascination of the genre?
Alexander: Immortality! Many people feel attracted to vampires because they stand for wisdom, experience and confidence. At the same time they are also very dangerous, they can kill you any time. The mixture of attraction and danger to the appeal.
“True Blood” came out when the success of “Twilight” just exploded. Did you think ever, it might look like you only jumped on the train?
Alexander: No, when we started with “True Blood”, was “Twilight” released yet? – only later I heard about it. I was sure that with “True Blood” was to make something very special. It was clear to me that Alan Ball would never copy something.
UPDATE: part 2 and last part below! 🙂
What would you like to write into your characters script??
Alexander: It’s a lot of fun to shoot the flashbacks for “True Blood”. There’s so much to tell about a 1000 year old character. You can move him for example to France during the French Revolution to Louis XIV, to Germany in the era of National Socialism, or to China 800 years ago. There are so many different ways to shoot Flashbacks, it’s fun and it also serves the development of the role.
Except for Alan Ball, are there other writers, directors and actors you would like to work with?
Alexander: I already worked with one of them, Lars von Trier [for the film “Melancholia”]. This was a dream come true. It’s nice to play a different role than in “True Blood”. Michael Haneke [“The White Ribbon”] would be great to work with – there are so many great directors.
How do you prepare for the role of a 1000 year old vampire? Are there any personal experiences or feelings you can put into your performance?
Alexander: You have to respond to all aspects of this character and bring in personal experiences, otherwise you can’t play the role. Before shooting I read the first five books of “True Blood” to get to know the character and the world he lives in better. In addition I have watched the classic vampire film “Nosferatu” with Max Schreck and also the remake with Klaus Kinski. These figures differ, of course, to Eric, but it was helpful to learn more about the history of vampire movies. The rest is left to imagination, You just sit there and you have one million ideas. Then you reject 95 percent of them because they are poor and in the end only a few ideas are left. There’s everything in it from the series I’ve seen to nature documentaries.
Do you have the opportunity to contribute creative ideas during the shooting?
Alexander: Absolutely! A director who does not allow his actors to bring in their own ideas can’t get the best out of them. If a director dictates the direction, he kills creativity. As a director you want the actors to be part of the creative process and have them contributing their own ideas. You also have to give them some freedom to make mistakes.
Can you actually see blood in real life without fainting?
Alexander: Yes, I am not that sensitive. My brother is a medicine student, I couldn’t do that, for example. But I don’t faint when I see a drop of blood.
What kind of fake blood do you use on “True Blood”?
Alexander: Well it’S a kind of corn syrup, very sweet and sticky. Once it dries it’s almost like glue.
Did you use the same fake blood for the shooting for the Rolling Stone magazine?
Alexander: No, that was something else. Not as thick and sticky. When you’re covered with the fake blood from “True Blood” you have to go into the shower with your clothes on to get them off. It’s like growing legs – it hurts.
In tomorrows last part of the interview at syfy.de you learn how it felt to “uncover” for the Rolling Stone Magazine – shoot and why Alexander is happy to not have worked as an actor for several years after his success as a child actor.
In the first and second part of our interview last Friday in Munich, Alexander Skarsgård from “True Blood” told us quite a bit about his work as an actor. In the last part Alexander reveals how the photo shoot for Rolling Stone magazine went and why he misses his home country, Sweden.
For many it is a dream to be on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. You made it there. How went the shooting, was it fun?
Alexander: Yes, I have given many interviews, but when I got that call from the Rolling Stone magazine I thought: Wow, that I will tell to my grandchildren one day. It was really something special. We did 6 hours of shooting first and at the end of the day the photographer asked if we would like to do something crazy, something special.
Did you hesitate when the photographer said, “Take your clothes off”?
Alexander: When he explained his idea to us we had already worked six hours. The shooting was his 100th Cover for the Rolling Stone magazine, he is also a very experienced photographer and it sounded like a funny idea.
So no hidden clothes or editing in Photoshop?
Alexander: No, we were actually naked.
In Sweden you were voted Sexiest Men five times. Do you know any other actor who made it that far?
Alexander: I don’t know if I hold the record. I’m not very interested in that matter.
How much fan mail do you get per week?
Alexander: I don’t know. My manager sorts out many letters and gives me only the harmless letters. And he keeps all the other things for himself. Most of it is very nice, I get many letters and photos.
Is there any “Please marry me” in it?
Alexander: Yes, that happens every now and then. I’m a little more romantic though, and I wouldn’t comment on such an offer.
Your father is also an actor. Were there moments when you wanted to do something different than your father?
Alexander: I started as a child actor in Sweden. When I was 13, I felt that all the attention was not very pleasant and that was irritating. It’s a difficult age and at that time I didn’t want to face the camera anymore. Then I spent seven years without acting.
My father always encouraged me. He said that acting is a great but also a very hard profession. Most of the actors can’t make a living from it. And even if they did, tehy have to work incredibly hard, travel a lot and hardly see your family – it’s great but hard. You have to be there with all of your heart, otherwise it’s not worth it.
I am glad my father gave me that advice. There are many parents who try to push their children in a particular direction. In Hollywood there are a lot of child actors who are already at the end when they’re grown up. Because they didn’t have a choice.
My father told me to try something different if acting wasn’t the only thing I’d like to do. And for seven years I did something different. At 21 I started again, because I missed to be in front of a camera. I wouldn’t sit here if I hadn’t stopped acting as a child. It would have been going on for several years, but today I’d be a wreck – I’m sure of that.
Where do you live now?
Alexander: Sweden is still my home. But we’re shooting “True Blood” in the U.S. for seven months a year and the next five months I’m on the road for filming. For example in Hawaii or Louisiana. The series we shoot in Los Angeles, so for seven months I almost live a normal life.
Do you miss Sweden and Europe?
Alexander: Yes, I am from Södermalm, an island in the middle of Stockholm. It’s very urban there, there is much life on the streets, many cafes and bars and you meet people you know all the time. My friends all live close to each other so you constantly meet people you know. That doesn’t happen in Los Angeles since you have to be in your car all the time.
But I do not complain. California is fantastic, it’s a great place to live. The ocean and the mountains are great. But I’m also looking forward each time to go back to Europe. And whenever I have the chance, I take it. It’s just always great to meet family and friends.
Thank you, Alexander, for this interview!
translation: Maeve source