Q. ~ I was really struck by the different physical characterizations of Lincoln and Eric after attending [Friday's] premiere of “What Maisie Knew,” and having just finished watching the season finale of “True Blood.” What discussions or collaborations are involved in determining the physical presence and representation of a character? — Ellen C, Toronto
By MEKADO MURPHY ~ The New York Times
TORONTO— During our time at the Toronto International Film Festival, we’ve been talking to filmmakers and actors and, on this occasion, taking some of your questions with us. On Saturday, we solicited questions for Alexander Skarsgard, who plays the Teutonic vampire Eric Northman in the HBO series “True Blood” and is here to promote “What Maisie Knew,” an adaptation of the Henry James novel set in New York City. We received quite a number of varied questions and chose a selection to ask the Swedish-born Mr. Skarsgard, whose character, Lincoln, is a bartender who gets caught up in a nasty custody battle after he marries Julianne Moore’s Susanna. Below are his responses.
A. ~ To me, it’s all about inspiration. What gets me creatively excited is a challenge. There’s gotta be a discovery. When I read a script and have my first interaction with this character, do I feel like there’s something I’m gonna learn here? If I feel like it’s something I’ve done before, then what’s the incentive for me to do it? That’s why, after playing Eric Northman for seven months shooting a season, I don’t want to play Eric Northman in a movie, but just without fangs. I want to try new things.
Q. ~ Wondering if you are in interested in doing a comedy? — Gina Bianchin, Chicago
A. ~ Yeah, absolutely. I’ve done that in Sweden before. My first film out here was actually a comedy, “Zoolander,” many years ago. I had a small part in that. But I’d love that. It’s different, and something I haven’t done in a while.
Q. ~ Concerning your career: Who would you love to work with? Do you think you will ever direct a movie? — Elaine, Nashville
A. ~ Isabelle Huppert, the French actress. She’s amazing. And I’ve directed a bit in Sweden. I wrote and directed a short film a couple of years ago. It’s called “To Kill a Child.” Very uplifting (laughs). It’s based on a short story about a car accident and a man kills a child. My kid brother who is now 17, but he was 8 when we shot it, plays the little kid in the movie. I want to do more. It’s just about finding the right project and, obviously, timing.
Q. ~ If you had the opportunity to play any of the characters that your father has played in any of his films, what would it be and why? — Mar, Mexico City
A. ~ Maybe “The Simple-Minded Murderer,” a Swedish film he did years ago. That’s a really, really good role. Also “Breaking the Waves” is definitely up there.
A. ~ The most obvious answer is: the reason I go home is family. But also, I’ve been in L.A. for 8 years, so all my memories there are from being an adult; oh, I went to that restaurant with that friend. In Stockholm, it goes deeper because when I walk down the streets, every single street corner will mean something. There will be a history there. There’s a connection to my childhood there. It means so much to me to go home and relive all those memories.
Q. ~ Do you feel the public perception of you as a sex symbol impacts your real life relationships in either a positive or negative way? — Jacqueline Haun, Lawrenceville, N.J.
A. ~ No, I never Google myself or read blogs about me. I’m scared, I wouldn’t want to do that and don’t think that would be good for me. In terms of jobs, I’m an actor. There’s gotta be depth there. I’d never say yes to something just to play the hot guy. That’s not what I’m interested in. Creatively that’s not fun for me.
Q. ~ You’ve played many roles in adaptations of novels. Do you have any favorite books that you would love to act in the adaptation of?— Fiona, Sydney, Australia
A. ~ There’s that I really like and it might happen, but I don’t know yet. So it’s difficult to talk about that one. But “Lolita” is one of my favorite novels. But there’s already two special film versions of that, so…
Q. ~ Would like to know which of the characters that Mr. Skarsgard has played has been the most challenging and why?— Katerina, Ont., Canada
A. ~ Brad Colbert in “Generation Kill.” It was my first big role in the States. It was a very intense experience. We shot it for seven months in the Kalahari desert. It’s about the war in Iraq, not the politics of it, but about the men and women there on the ground. So I just think I felt the weight of that and the importance of getting it right.
Q. ~ How difficult is it to develop the accent and body language of another culture? As an American, I am especially interested in the ease, or difficulty, of ‘becoming American’. — Pat, Eugene, Ore.
A. ~ I come up with thousands of ideas, from how he speaks, what his posture is, how he walks. And then 99% will be crap. But then you filter it and you find the little things that you actually like, once you’ve thought about it for a while. And that’s how you start finding the character.
Q. ~ Will you marry me? — Amy Lynn, Lexington
A. ~ Of course.
SOURCE: The New York Times
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