Stellan Skarsgård: Sweden has become a warlike country


Published 30 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Stellan Skarsgård believes that Swedish society is moving in the wrong direction.

Popular actor Skarsgård is deeply saddened by the warlike atmosphere that now prevails in Europe, and he misses the time when Swedes were a more peace-loving and happy people.

It’s changing, that’s the sad thing. We used to be seen as a very wealthy country with very happy people. And, of course, a neutral country. But now we’re a member of NATO, we have doubled our arms budget. Like all of Europe. Everybody’s screaming to ‘kill, kill, kill’, he laments in an interview with The Guardian.

– Everybody is so excited now, by war. They’re showing the prime minister of Denmark and the prime minister of Sweden, and they’re sitting in fighting planes, and they’re showing off the latest submarine, and their pride in the Swedish rocket gun. There’s a pride in weapons that we were once ashamed of before, the popular actor continues.

Skarsgård and his son Gustaf are currently working on the crime drama What Remains – loosely based on Thomas Quick’s court case.

– I’m full of happiness watching him work, because he’s so good. I don’t see him suffering, I know he enjoys it. We’re actors, for f***’s sake.

“A place for madmen”

Four of Skarsgård’s adult sons are actors, and while there is a “certain competition” between them, he says they still “appreciate each other’s success”.

– I didn’t care what they became when they grew up, they could do anything. But obviously they saw that I had fun doing the acting stuff, so they became actors. They’re all very different. I am amazed how different they can be from each other, having the same parents. Well, some of them have the same parents.

Skarsgård goes on to say that art should be “the place for refugees, the dropouts, the insane people, the homosexuals.” and that there is great value in “We have to defend our outsider values”, and that this has been important to him throughout his long acting career and in choosing which roles to play.

“Very radical”

About director Lars von Trier, for example, he says he is “a very radical man” who “can’t do anything normal” and that his movies are “dangerous and shocking in so many ways” – which also attracted Stellan.

He has since starred in more streamlined blockbusters like the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Marvel movies and Mamma Mia! He says the most important thing is to have fun when making movies.

– As an actor, you’re don’t create your own art, you’re a reproductive artist, in a way. But I feel very zen about it. I’ve not been too pretentious about my arthouse films. I enjoy them, I think they’re delicious. I’m approaching my death now. There’s a limit to the number of roles I’ll get, limited time. I want to continue doing what I’ve done, making the things that haven’t been made.

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