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Stellan Skarsgård
Stellan Skarsgård at the 2017 Berlinalevds.jpg
Skarsgård at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival
Born
Stellan John Skarsgård

(1951-06-13) 13 June 1951 (age 72)
Gothenburg, Sweden
Occupation Actor
Years active 1968–present
Spouse(s)
  • My Skarsgård
    (m. 1975; div. 2007)
  • Megan Everett
    (m. 2009)
Children 8, including Alexander, Gustaf, Bill and Valter

Stellan Skarsgård (/ˈstɛlən ˈskɑːrsɡɑːrd/, Swedish: [ˈstɛ̂lːan ˈskɑ̌ːʂɡoːɖ]; born 13 June 1951) is a Swedish actor. He is known for his collaborations with director Lars von Trier appearing in Breaking the Waves (1996), Dancer in the Dark (2000), Dogville (2007), and Melancholia (2011). Skarsgård's early English-speaking film roles include The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Good Will Hunting (1997), Ronin (1998), and King Arthur (2004).

Skarsgård has since starred in various blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007). He also starred in Mamma Mia! (2008), Angels and Demons (2009), David Fincher's thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) and Dune (2021). Since 2011 he has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portraying Dr. Erik Selvig in Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022).

He is also known for his work in television portraying as Boris Shcherbina in the HBO miniseries Chernobyl (2019) for which he received the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film and a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. He stars in the Star Wars prequel series Andor (2022) on Disney+.

Early life

Skarsgård was born in Gothenburg, the son of Gudrun (née Larsson; born 1930) and Jan Skarsgård (1920–1998). He moved often in his childhood and lived, amongst other places, in Helsingborg, Totebo, Kalmar, Marielund, and Uppsala.

Acting career

Stellan Skarsgård 2009
Skarsgård in 2009

Skarsgård started his acting career early; and, by the age of 21, his experience in film, TV and stage was considerable. Most of his early roles were in Swedish television (such as Bombi Bitt) and films. Of Skarsgård's work in Swedish film, he is perhaps best known for Good Evening, Mr. Wallenberg, where he portrays Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who worked to save Holocaust victims.

Skarsgård is particularly associated with director Lars von Trier and has appeared in six of the Danish auteur's features: The Kingdom, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, and Melancholia. His most personal working relationship, however, is with Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland, who has directed the actor in Zero Kelvin, Aberdeen, In Order of Disappearance, and A Somewhat Gentle Man. Skarsgård considers Moland a close friend and, in 2009, he said of their relationship: "We're like an old married couple and I get separation anxiety." Another Scandinavian work that he is known for is the 1997 Norwegian film Insomnia, in which he plays the guilt-ridden policeman Jonas Engström.

Skarsgård's first American film was the 1985 film Noon Wine, directed by Michael Fields, in which Skarsgård played a mentally disturbed immigrant farmhand being chased by a bounty hunter. He acted opposite Fred Ward, who portrayed the farmer. In 1990, he starred in another American film, The Hunt for Red October, playing the character of Captain Tupolev, a Soviet submarine commander.

He was considered for the role of Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List. Skarsgård has said that people often mistook him for Liam Neeson, who portrayed Schindler in the film, and Skarsgård later replaced Neeson in the 2004 film Exorcist: The Beginning. He appeared as a guest star on Entourage as Verner Vollstedt, the German director of the fictional film Smokejumpers, who is hostile to the main character Vincent Chase. Skarsgård appeared as Bootstrap Bill Turner in both Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. In 2008, he starred as Bill Anderson in Universal Pictures' Mamma Mia! and reprised the role 10 years later in its sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Skarsgård played Dr. Erik Selvig in the 2011 film Thor, and later reprised the role in Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), as well as The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Skarsgård reteamed with Thor director Kenneth Branagh for the 2015 live-action adaptation of Disney's Cinderella, in which he played The Grand Duke. In 2021, he played Vladimir Harkonnen in Denis Villeneuve's Dune.

Skarsgård has appeared in music videos alongside fellow Swedes. He was in Eva Dahlgren's "Vem tänder stjärnorna" (Who Lights the Stars) in 1991 and Lykke Li's 2011 music video, "Sadness Is a Blessing".

Personal life

He married My Skarsgård (born 1956), a physician, in April 1975; together they have six children: Alexander (born 1976); Gustaf (born 1980); Sam (born 1982); Bill (born 1990); Eija (born 1992); and Valter (born 1995). Alexander, Gustaf, Bill, and Valter are also actors, while Eija is a former model. Skarsgård and My divorced in May 2007. Stellan married Megan Everett in January 2009. The couple have two sons.

Views on religion

Skarsgård was brought up by humanist, atheist parents, and had an atheist grandfather and a deeply religious grandmother. According to Skarsgård, this never led to any problems because of the family's mutual respect for each other's opinions. After the 11 September attacks, Skarsgård set out to read the Bible and the Quran, both of which he condemns as violent. Skarsgård is also a critic of religious independent schools in the Swedish educational system. He has said he considers the notion of God absurd and that if a real God were actually so vain as to constantly demand worship, then he would not be worthy of it.

In 2009, Skarsgård, along with other non-religious artists, authors, and entrepreneurs including Christer Sturmark, Björn Ulvaeus, and Christer Fuglesang, wrote an article in Dagens Nyheter stressing the importance of secularity. The group also criticised the UN for its stance on blasphemy laws.

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Director Notes
1972 Strandhugg i somras Erik
Firmafesten Peter
1973 Åttonde budet Short
Fem døgn i August Christer
Bröllopet Roffe Eriksson
1977 Taboo Jan-Erik
Hemåt i natten Kurt Sjöberg
1981 Kyssen Short
1982 The Simple-Minded Murderer Sven Hans Alfredson
1983 P & B Karl-Johan 'Charlie' Pettersson
1984 Åke och hans värld Ebenholtz Allan Edwall
1985 Falsk som vatten Stig Hans Alfredson
Noon Wine Olaf Helton Michael Fields
Peter-No-Tail in Americat Pelle Swanson (voice) Stig Lasseby
Jan Gissberg
1986 Ormens väg på hälleberget Karl Orsa Markström Bo Widerberg
1987 Jim & Piraterna Blom Gustav, Jim's Father Hans Alfredson Also writer
Hip hip hurra! Peder Severin Krøyer Kjell Grede
1988 The Unbearable Lightness of Being The Engineer Philip Kaufman
Vargens tid Peder Ulfstand Hans Alfredson
Friends Matt Kjell-Åke Andersson
The Perfect Murder Axel Svensson Zafar Hai
1989 S/Y Glädjen Klas Larsson Göran du Rées
Täcknamn Coq Rouge Carl Hamilton Per Berglund
Kvinnorna på taket Willy Carl-Gustav Nykvist
1990 The Hunt for Red October Captain Viktor Tupolev John McTiernan
Good Evening, Mr. Wallenberg Raoul Wallenberg Kjell Grede
1991 The Ox Helge Roos Sven Nykvist
1992 Den demokratiske terroristen Carl Hamilton Per Berglund
Wind Joe Heiser Carroll Ballard
1993 The Slingshot Fritiof Schütt Åke Sandgren
Sista dansen Host in Norrköping Colin Nutley
1995 Jönssonligans största kupp Herman Melvin Hans Åke Gabrielsson
Zero Kelvin Randbæk Hans Petter Moland
The Dogs of Riga Magnus Björk Per Berglund
1996 Harry och Sonja Harry Olsson Björn Runge
Breaking the Waves Jan Nyman Lars von Trier
1997 Insomnia Jonas Engström Erik Skjoldbjærg
My Son the Fanatic Schitz Udayan Prasad
Good Will Hunting Prof. Gerald Lambeau Gus Van Sant
Amistad Tappan Steven Spielberg
1998 Glasblåsarns barn Albert Anders Grönros
Savior Peter Dominic Predrag Antonijević
Ronin Gregor John Frankenheimer
1999 Deep Blue Sea Jim Whitlock Renny Harlin
2000 Harlan County War Warren Jakopovich Tony Bill
Passion of Mind William Granther Alain Berliner
Signs and Wonders Alec Jonathan Nossiter
Timecode Alex Green Mike Figgis
Dancer in the Dark Doctor Lars von Trier
Aberdeen Tomas Hans Petter Moland Also associate producer
2001 Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) Felix Stewart Sugg
Powder Keg Harvey Jacobs Alejandro González Iñárritu Segment from the BMW short film series The Hire
Taking Sides Dr. Wilhelm Furtwängler István Szabó
The Glass House Terrence 'Terry' Glass Daniel Sackheim
2002 No Good Deed Tyrone Bob Rafelson
City of Ghosts Joseph Kaspar Matt Dillon
2003 To Kill a Child Narrator Alexander Skarsgård Short
Dogville Chuck Lars von Trier
2004 Eiffeltornet Jakob Niklas Rådström Short
King Arthur Cerdic Antoine Fuqua
Exorcist: The Beginning Father Lankester Merrin Renny Harlin
2005 Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist Paul Schrader
Torte Bluma Stangl Benjamin Ross Short
Beowulf & Grendel Hrothgar Sturla Gunnarsson
Guilty Hearts Stangl George Gargurevich
Krystoff Pizykucki
Paul Black
Phil Dornfield
Ravi Kumar
Savina Dellicour
Benjamin Ross
Segment: "Torte Bluma"
2006 Kill Your Darlings Erik's Father Björne Larson
Goya's Ghosts Francisco Goya Miloš Forman
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Bootstrap Bill Turner Gore Verbinski
2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
The Killing Gene Eddie Argo Tom Shankland
Arn – The Knight Templar Birger Brosa Peter Flinth
2008 Arn – The Kingdom at Road's End
Mamma Mia! Bill Anderson Phyllida Lloyd
God on Trial Baumgarten Andy De Emmony
2009 Angels & Demons Commander Maximilian Richter Ron Howard
Boogie Woogie Bob Maccelstone Duncan Ward
Metropia Ralph Parker Tarik Saleh Voice
2010 A Somewhat Gentle Man Ulrik Hans Petter Moland
Frankie and Alice Dr. Oz Geoffrey Sax
Moomins and the Comet Chase Moominpapa / Hemulens Maria Lindberg Voices
Submission Narrator Stefan Jarl English version
Documentary
As If I Am Not There Doctor Juanita Wilson
King of Devil's Island Bestyreren Marius Holst Also executive producer
2011 Melancholia Jack Lars von Trier
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Martin Vanger David Fincher
Thor Erik Selvig Kenneth Branagh
2012 The Avengers Joss Whedon
2013 Thor: The Dark World Alan Taylor
Romeo and Juliet Prince of Verona Carlo Carlei
The Railway Man Finlay Jonathan Teplitzky
The Physician Barber Philipp Stölzl
2014 In Order of Disappearance Nils Hans Petter Moland Also executive producer and stunt driver
Hector and the Search for Happiness Edward Peter Chelsom
2015 Cinderella The Grand Duke Kenneth Branagh
Avengers: Age of Ultron Erik Selvig Joss Whedon
2016 Our Kind of Traitor Dima Susanna White
2017 Return to Montauk Max Frisch Volker Schlöndorff
Borg McEnroe Lennart Bergelin Janus Metz Pedersen
Moomins and the Winter Wonderland Moominpappa Ira Carpelan
Jakub Wronski
English dub
Gordon & Paddy Gordon Linda Hambäck Voice
2018 The Man Who Killed Don Quixote The Boss Terry Gilliam
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Bill Anderson / Kurt Ol Parker
2019 Out Stealing Horses Trond Hans Petter Moland
The Painted Bird Hans Václav Marhoul
Music, War and Love Benno Moser Martha Coolidge Titled changed to I'll Find You
Hope Tomas Maria Sødahl
2021 Apstjärnan Tord Linda Hambäck
Dune Baron Vladimir Harkonnen Denis Villeneuve
2022 Thor: Love and Thunder Erik Selvig Taika Waititi Cameo
2023 Dune: Part Two Baron Vladimir Harkonnen Denis Villeneuve Post-production

Television

Year Series Role Notes
1968 Bombi Bitt och jag Bombi Bitt 5 episodes
1972 Magnetisören Soldier Television film
1981 Skärp dig, älskling Georg Episode: "Tack för igår"
1981 Babels hus Dr. Mattsson Episode: "Del 4"
1981 Olsson per sekund eller Det finns ingen anledning till oro The tardy one Television film
1983 Farmor och vår herre Nathan 2 episodes
1983 Hustruskolan Horace Television film
1985 Den tragiska historien om Hamlet – Prins av Danmark Hamlet Television film
1985 August Strindberg: Ett liv Verner von Heidenstam 2 episodes
1989 The Wild Duck Gregers Werle 3 episodes
1989 Förhöret Carl Hamilton Television film
1990 S*M*A*S*H Statssekreteraren Episode: "Wow, håll käften!"
1990 Parker Kane Nathan Van Adams Television film
1994 Rapport till himlen Gary 4 episodes
1997 The Kingdom II Stig Helmers advokat Episode: "Gargantua"
2000 Harlan County War Warren Jakopovich Television film
2001 D-dag – Den færdige film Lise's Mand Television film
2003 Helen of Troy Theseus Television film
2008 Masterpiece Contemporary Baumgarten Episode: "God on Trial"
2008 Entourage Verner Vollstedt 3 episodes
2010 Arn Birger Brosa 6 episodes
2012 Rouge Brésil Villegagnon 4 episodes
2012 Playhouse Presents The Man Episode: "The Man"
2014 Quarry The Broker Unaired pilot
2015 River John River 6 episodes
2019 Chernobyl Boris Shcherbina 5 episodes
2020 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episode: "Podcast News"
2022–present Andor Luthen Rael Main role

Awards and nominations

Award Year Category Film Result Ref(s)
Berlin International Film Festival 1982 Best Actor The Simple-Minded Murderer Won
British Academy Television Awards 2020 Best Supporting Actor Chernobyl Nominated
Denmark's National Association of Film Critics 2004 Best Supporting Actor Dogville Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards 2020 Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie Chernobyl Won
European Film Academy 1998 European Film Award for Achievement in World Cinema Amistad
Good Will Hunting
Won
2000 Best Actor Aberdeen Nominated
2001 Taking Sides Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards 2006 Best Actor Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist Nominated
Golden Globe Awards 2020 Best Supporting Actor – Series, Limited Series or Television Film Chernobyl Won
Guldbagge Awards 1981/1982 Best Actor The Simple-Minded Murderer Won
1989 Täcknamn Coq Rouge
The Women on the Roof
Won
2017 Best Supporting Actor Borg McEnroe Won

International Press Academy 2008 Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film God on Trial Nominated
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012 Career Achievement Award Won
Mar del Plata Film Festival 2002 Best Actor Taking Sides Won
Norwegian International Film Festival 2010 Best Actor A Somewhat Gentle Man Won
People's Choice Awards 2009 Favorite Cast Mamma Mia! Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards 2019 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Chernobyl Nominated
Robert Award 2004 Best Supporting Actor Dogville Nominated
Satellite Awards 2020 Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Chernobyl Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards 1998 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Good Will Hunting Nominated

See also

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