The GQ+A: An Encounter with Alexander Skarsgård
Alexander Skarsgård is tall. It’s a fact I had been told or read several times prior to meeting him. Words like viking, a fitting description based on his Swedish nationality, were used over and over and going in to interview the face of Calvin Klein’s new Encounter fragrance, I was mentally prepped to be dwarfed by his hulking presence. It is true; Skarsgård is tall. Tall in a way that, unlike most Hollywood actors, probably doesn’t necessitate him to stand on a crate while shooting scenes with female co-stars. You don’t necessarily expect someone with the physical presence of a Nordic superhero to have the most affable personality but the True Blood actor does, equally at ease talking about his new role for one of the most well-known fashion brands in the world as he is offering up travel tips in his hometown. We caught up with Skarsgård towards the tail end of a packed press day, as he took appointments seated on an oversized couch opposite a tv playing his Encounter commercial on repeat.
GQ: How’s it been watching yourself on a loop all day?
Alexander Skarsgård: This is what I do. Hanging out in my humble abode, watching myself. No it’s fucking surreal. (It’s surreal seeing poster and commercial of you and it’s not even me, but it’s awesome none the less. keep saying look at my boo boo kitty)
GQ: So what did you think when you saw the final cut of the clip?
Skarsgård: I thought they did a great job. What attracted me to it was that it was so dark and moody. It felt like something Fritz Lang would’ve directed, something out of the German Expressionism movement in the ’20s. I think they really captured that. So I’m very happy with how it turned out. But then I just walked by that freaking billboard and it’s surreal, seeing yourself the size of Godzilla.
GQ: And you’re already a pretty tall guy. You’re actually the first male to ever front a fragrance campaign for the brand, was that something that resonated with you when you were approached for the project?
Skarsgård: Of course it did. I was very humbled by that. This is my first big campaign. For me the feeling was that if I was going to do something I want it to be fun and creatively great. When this came up it was perfect; Calvin is such an amazing house, Fabien Baron is arguably the greatest art director of our time and we had worked together before for an Interview magazine shoot that Steven Klein shot. So I knew those guys and I also worked with Lara on something for Vogue two years ago shot by Peter Lingbergh – which is a much different experience from a Steven Klein shoot. So when this came up and Fabien explained the concept, that we were going to shoot a short and that the tone was going to be in this dark, film noir style, I just thought if I’m ever going to do it this is the one.
GQ: The short film involves a lot of brooding on your part. Was that something you felt you had down pat from playing a vampire?
Skarsgård: What was both challenging about this, and interesting, is that there’s no dialogue. So you have to create the whole back story in your head and come up with what’s going on.
GQ: That was my next question: What do you think the story is behind these two people?
Skarsgård: The reason I’m not going to say what I had in mind when I did it is because when you watch it, you want there the mystery to remain unanswered. It’s the same thing with music. Sometimes you hear a song and you think it’s about something and it means so much to you and then you read an interview an the artist is like “no, it’s actually about my goldfish” and you’re like well, that’s fucking disappointing. So sometimes its better to keep the mystery. (the mystery is always great in the beginning but for a short period of time if otherwise it gets tedious and fucking boring no human being like to linger in suspense why do you think there are holy wars the unanswered manifest fears in men we over think and come up with wrong conclusions plus boredom can be a bitch looking at you tumblr and twitter and all other useless unsocial media)
GQ: What was it like working with Lara Stone, arguably one of the sexiest women in the world? Are you thinking about that when you’re shooting with her?
Skarsgård: Yeah. Every time you look at her you’re reminded of it. But Lara doesn’t take herself or this whole crazy business too seriously. She is so laid back and cool.
GQ: This is an enormous global campaign and you’re going to be promoting Encounter around the world. How does it feel to see your face plastered everywhere? Is it something you get used to?
Skarsgård: I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that. It’s the same thing when you’re in a movie or when the show premieres every year and you see your face – it’s surreal. And I think it has to be. And I want it to be that way. The day it’s not you’re in trouble.
GQ: In our July issue there was a travel piece on Stockholm, a city with which I think you’re quite familiar. Funnily enough the author mentioned seeing your brother Bill at a bar.
Skarsgård: Well I have forty-five brothers so just go in to a random bar and you’re bound to run into a brother of mine. (hahaha, that means I probably made out with a Skarsgård last year. The more you know. Doubt it tho. I asked, it’s kinda meeting someone with the same last name and same ethnicity or mixture there of. Double checking never hurts but turning up on a Sunday and meaning your long distance cousin now that’s some fuck up shit.)
GQ: So let’s say a guy has twenty-four hours in Stockholm. What should he do?
Skarsgård: Well I’m from South Stockholm. Stockholm is a group of islands and you have the Old Town in the center and it’s beautiful. Most of the buildings there are from the 12th or 13th century. It’s very tourist-y but worth walking through. ( I have assemble some Stockholm favorite, very lovely city)
All my recommendations are on basically in Sõdermalm, in the south. If you have twenty-four hours that’s the island I would go to, I wouldn’t bother going north. There are two neighborhoods that are really cool; Hornstull, on the western tip of the island, where a lot of interesting artists live and is a very creative place and then for shopping there’s SoFo, which is the hip area with all these cool little bars and restaurants and boutiques and coffee shops.
GQ: In the same article there was a piece by a Swedish writer on hooking up in Stockholm and she said self-deprecation was a Swedish aphrodisiac. Do you find that to be true?
Skarsgård: [laughing] Yeah. I think that’s very Swedish, a very Nordic quality.
GQ: We’ll make sure to tell all the GQ readers heading over there to just start ragging on themselves to the beautiful ladies.
Skarsgård: Absolutely. You definitely don’t want to brag. You definitely don’t want to show up in a yellow Lamborghini or talk about how successful you are. That’s a huge turn off.
GQ: Humility goes a long way.
Skarsgård: A long way, yeah. ( I co sign tis, I still don’t know how douche get laid but hey to each their own translation low self esteem. Get a life coach)
GQ: We have to talk about True Blood. The fifth season just wrapped. Do you have any clue what’s going to happen with your character Eric next season?
Skarsgård: No. This is always the case when we’re on hiatus and I love it. It’s a complete break. The writers are getting together now to start plotting the next season. It’s nice not being involved in that and then getting to see a script when you’re back.
GQ: Is there anything you’re hoping to see happen with Eric next season?
Skarsgård: To the writers’ credit, my fear is that it’s always going to feel repetitive or redundant and creatively that’s suicide if you don’t challenge yourself. But I keep learning about more about Eric every season. I do like the flashbacks. They’re a lot of fun to shoot and I think when you have a character who is a thousand years old there’s a great opportunity to learn about him throughout history.
(could you copy, paste and email tis to your writers god dammit or voice tis to them. I just can’t with tis mess. I am gonna need some viking flashback next season if Fuck it all to hell, I want to see more of early Vamp Eric, more viking shit and and long boats and fights. GIVE ME MORE FUCKING VIKING)
GQ: Between True Blood and the just-premiered What Maisie Knew you’re career has steered towards more serious roles. Is comedy something you’d like to try more of?
Skarsgård: Yeah, especially now that I just wrapped Hidden, about two months in a bomb shelter. It’s a post-apocalyptic drama in a bomb shelter, I’m losing lots of weight, there’s no food. (I HOPE YOU ARE EATING FOR TWO, YOU’RE LOOKING SO MUCH BETTER THO) After something like that I’m dying to do like a Danny McBride comedy.
GQ: Well, can we hope for a Meekus resurrection in Zoolander 2?
Skarsgård: I’m hoping for it. He dies in the first one.
GQ: Of course, in that freak gasoline fight accident.
Skarsgård: Yeah, maybe he could come back like Hamlet’s father, as a ghost. Or it can be his evil German twin brother.
GQ: Yes! Out to seek revenge for your brother’s death. Now the world seems to have already cast you as the lead in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Is that a role you would ever consider? Have you read the books?
Skarsgård: I don’t know enough about the project. (COME ON ALEXANDER TIS SHIT HAS BEEN ON YOUR ASS AND MINE FOR MONTHS NOW GET INFORMED OR SAY NO COMMENT, EITHER WAYS I JUST FUCKING CAN NOT ANY FUCKING MORE I NEED NOT TO HEAR OR SEE ANYTHING ABOUT TIS SHIT OF SHIT. I LOATHE THESE “BOOKS” YOUR NAME THO KEEPS GETTING MENTION BECAUSE TB IS TURNING INTO PORN. I HAVE QUITE PEOPLE FOR SIMPLIER TIS THAT IRATES ME.) Recently all these journalists have been asking me about it. I haven’t read the books. It’s a huge compliment that my name is mentioned in the mix because I realize how popular they are. I mean as to whether I’m interested or not, step one is read the script and figure out if this character is someone I’d want to explore or not. At this point I don’t even know if there is a script.
GQ: There are just a lot of
eager (DUDE YOU CAN SAY HORNY DESPERATE I WOULD SAY VAGINA BUT THAT WOULD BE AN INSULT TO VAGINAS. A VAGINA IS GREAT IT DOES MAGNIFICENT AWESOME THINGS. IT’S THE GATE WAY TO LIFE ON EARTH: CHILD BIRTH, PERIODS, LIST GOES ON. IT’S A GREAT ORGAN IT DESERVES RESPECT SO I WOULDN’T DIS IT AND CALL THESE BREEDS VAGINAS APPARENTLY THEY HAVE NO RESPECT FOR IT. PLUS I LOVE TO SEE HIS NAKED BITES, SHIT I WOULD FLY TO WHERE HE IS FOR A CHANCE AND COUPLE OF HOURS ALONE SEXY TIME BUT NOT LIKE THIS, NOT LIKE TIS) women hoping for you to play the part.
Skarsgård: I don’t know. Have you read them?
GQ: No. I haven’t yet entered my mommy porn literary phase. (you can tell he hates it and is Just being polite, sensible brain functioning not deprive of sex people find tis shit. (I have been single and no sexy time for over a year and I wouldn’t read that shit any further, it does NUTTTIN for me. Only incites RAGE!! BURN IN HELL 50 shades of shit. )
Skarsgård: Maybe I should read those books because people love them.
(yes read it see what people want you to be in, basely people see you as a porn S&M star, with serious vagina issues, you want to be different right. MY BAD!! I assume too much sometimes. If you think the script will be different keep waiting for that life raft that shit ain’t happening. Make sure you get loads of money for tis mess. NOT that I want you in tis mess anyways)
(Source: GQ.com/Matthew Sebra, Photo credit: Vogue.it/Steven Klein)