In September, due to the TV premiere of the third season and DVD release of the second season of “True Blood,” Alexander Skarsgard, who plays one of the series’ main characters, visited Poland. He told us about his love for vampires and football and the pros and cons of being famous as well as what he usually does when he is not being a vampire.
“True Blood” is based on a series of novels written by Charlaine Harris, although it is not the books’ most faithful translation. Did you read them when you were preparing to play Eric?
Before we started filming the first season, I read the first five of Charlaine’s novels. I thought it might have helped me to sink deeper into this original world, and to know my character better. But when I got the scripts of the first episodes, I suddenly realized that they were much different than the books both in the sense of plot and construction. I came to the conclusion that it was a bad idea to read the novels and the scripts simultaneously because I soon started to get really confused. I confused the books with the scripts, but reading them definitely helped me create and play Eric.
Did you decide immediately to play the part?
At first when I heard that it was supposed to be a Viking vampire, I wasn’t sure I wanted to play him, but when I got the information that Alan Ball was the producer, and I am his hugest fan, I knew I would take this part. Especially when I took a closer look at Eric. I realized this character is more interesting than I’d thought. At first he seemed to be a typical vampire bad guy. But in the next episodes the viewers, I believe, had a chance to see that Eric is in fact a much more complicated and much more deeper character – and that is what fascinates me in him.
Vampires seem to be fashionable nowadays. Why is it so?
I think it’s mostly like that because they represent something solid in the modern world which changes so fast it is hard to keep up with it. And someone like Eric is the same all the time, no matter the era he currently lives in. Besides, vampires fit human dreams about immortality and the modern mass culture which expects us to live forever perfectly.
Eric was classified very high in the list of all time best vampires, behind Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, who played Dracula, but he outdistanced “Twilight’s” Edward Cullen. What do you think about it?
I would never dream to compete with Lugosi, Lee, or Klaus Kinsky from Herzog’s “Nosferatu” or Max Shreck from Murnau’s film. And certainly not with Gary Oldman from Coppola’s ‘Dracula.” He’s my favorite actor, my master. But, yes, Eric seems to be better than Cullen. (laughs)
“True Blood” shows violence, sex and nudity very explicitly. Have you any problems with that?
Some people in the states seem to rebuke me for showing myself naked in the show, but it’s not a big deal for me. Besides, America seems to be having quite hypocritical approach to sex and violence. As soon as they see a naked butt, they get panicked, but they do not seem to mind super-realistic brutality in movies or TV shows, or computer games. It’s absurd.
Recently you have starred in Lars Von Trier’s newest film “Melancholia.” Did “True Blood” help you to get that role?
No, Lars had seen me before. Besides, my father, Stellan Skarsgard played in his movie “Breaking The Waves.” I never even read the script of “Melancholy.” When he proposed the role to me, I just agreed. Especially that it allowed me to work with my father. I live in Los Angeles, he and the rest of my family in Stockholm, so we don’t see each other too often. That’s why it felt so good to play with him. Recently I’ve been to Hawaii where I shot “Battleship,” a science-fiction blockbuster. Soon I’m coming back on the “True Blood” set and I will not have any time for new projects until next year.
You’re a football fan. Do you still support Hammarby IF?
Oh yeah, I’m nuts about it. I get up in the morning and check the results and information on the Swedish league on the Internet, and when Hammarby plays, I am totally nervous. It’s incurable. Just like a vampire’s bite.
Source: True Blood News