Alexander Skarsgård, known as the 1000 year old Viking Vampire Eric Northman in HBO’s True Blood, was interviewed at the Toronto Film Festival while taking a quick break from having spent the past two months in a fallout shelter filming the intense Warner Bros. movie HIDDEN, and being “emaciated,” losing 16 pounds for it. He smiled at “Maisie” Onata Aprile, who jumped and sang around him, and confessed: “I adore Onata. Even though I’m physically exhausted, I’m just so thrilled to be here,” said Skarsgård. “The whole thought of maybe not being here (in Toronto) with her broke my heart. I hadn’t seen the movie before the premiere, and neither did she. To see it with her was amazing. I love her, love working with her.”
Skarsgård remembered starring in his own first role, when he was 7, Aprile’s age, and what it’s like being a child actor. He worked from age 7 to 13, and then took a break. Fame, Skarsgård said, “is f—king weird, and especially when you’re 13, and you have no idea what’s going on, and who you are. There’s nothing natural about being a celebrity. When I was that age, it made me paranoid. I didn’t like it at all.” As for Aprile, just starting out her career, Skarsgård said, she was a talented natural.
“She’s so sensitive, and real. I work for months, and I think about my character, I analyze everything. Then you show up on set, and she’s a million times better than I am. I’m like, ‘Come on!! This is not fair!’” said Skarsgård, smiling. “You work so hard, trying to sound and be natural, and she shows up and it’s not at all false. It’s all spot-on and real. She wasn’t aware of the camera. She couldn’t care less. When I got over the fact that this [then] 6-year-old girl was so much better than me, it was so great, because that’s what acting is, when you get so much from someone.”
Alexander Skarsgård knows how to get along with kids: He grew up with five younger siblings. Recently his actor dad Stellan Skarsgård had a baby, the second child with his second wife. Alexander lived with about 35 cousins in his south Stockholm neighbourhood growing up, plus a grandmother, uncles, aunts.
“A normal Tuesday night dinner would be 15 people. It was social, very loud. That’s how I grew up, what I’m comfortable with,” said Skarsgård. “I’m on my own now, a home, and it’s weird being alone.”
As for playing a goofy bartender stepdad in WHAT MAISIE KNEW, Skarsgård said it was truly a welcome challenge, along with brea[aartikel]B00EE1TNH2:left[/aartikel] king out of his lusty vampire mode on True Blood.
“There’s got to be something interesting, a discovery, in roles. If there’s no exploration, then what’s the point?” asked Skarsgård. “Especially on a show like True Blood, there’s so much attention. It’s easy for you to become that character. Many scripts sent my way are similar. That’s why I don’t play a different version of Eric Northman every year. I do that seven months out of the year. When I have a hiatus, I want to do films like this, that are different, where I learn something.”
“I liked hanging on his arm!” yelled Aprile Onata about filming with Skarsgård: “He’s a human jungle gym!” Based on the Henry James novel, WHAT MAISIE KNEW also stars Steve Coogan as Maisie’s funny British dad, equally as negligent as her mom (Julianne Moore).