The first time Gustaf Skarsgård read the script for Hamlet, he thought: This role I have to do! On New Year’s Eve, it is finally time, and Gustaf know exactly how he will deliver the Danish prince’s most famous phrase: “To be or not to be” … Text: Peter Fröberg Idling • Photo: Irmeli Krekin
Gustaf Skarsgård stops at the door of the rehearsal room. Dance music drums muffled through the wood. He ajar, peeking into. Then he opened wide and the middle of the hall will be a fitting stage floor visible. And around the elevated stage at stage designer Maja Ravn, in stocking feet and jeans, in what looks like a spontaneous equally as energetic workout.
This is where the pieces piece takes shape. Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After more than 50 performances by Arvid at The Sacrifice was not given to Gustaf Skarsgård would take another leading role in the theater. It is time consuming. And poorly paid. But, he says, when we were sitting with their coffee, how the hell do you say no to Hamlet?
But the coffee is we have not yet, but we leave Maja Ravn in her orbit and Gustaf Skarsgård continues the impromptu tour of the Stockholm City Theater’s labyrinthine interior. There is no particular flair in full. There are more like an interior from one of Roy Andersson’s latest film. In a long, low, gray corridor located lodges in a row behind the dull identical doors. Gustaf Skarsgård parts with his dancer Niklas Ek. It reminds both the size of the charm of a less expensive cabin on a Finnish ferry. A sofa and two tables each with a mirror and devoid of personal touch.
We continue through what looks like an open-plan offices, where computer screens have been replaced by a wig logs. So on through a chamber with enough make-up table to face paint an entire tribe on the warpath. But now the premises afternoon empty and the mirrors reflect only each other. And so we finally arrived at personalkantinens coffee and its bright red chairs that violate the sallow color scheme. It is the break between today’s two repeat passes.
It’s been just over a year since I last interviewed Gustaf Skarsgård. And when I ask him to sum up the time elapsed since last time, it is a good year, he has to look back on. In addition to the set of Hjalmar Söderberg’s classic was a critical and public success was the romantic comedy Patrik 1.5 for full cinemas.
But what he describes as his life’s biggest adventures are not premiere until at least the spring - Hollywood film The Way Back, with big stars such as Ed Harris and Colin Farrell. For written and directed by Peter Weir stands, which among other things done Dead Poets Society and The Truman Show. No gangs just peanuts. Particularly Ed Harris impressed Gustaf Skarsgård.
- It was an incredible experience to be working with an actor as he is, as I have always admired. I really felt that I was an idol. So cool and really hard working. And that also is in the theater and directs itself. No bullshit. None of Hollywood’s back.
Gustaf Skarsgård describes The Way Back as one of the ensemble film, based on a real event. A handful of prisoners manage to escape from a Soviet Gulag camps during World War II. They then try in appalling hardships to walk to get to India.
- We started the first recording day by marching through the snow up to this Gulag camp, with prisoners and armed guards who was talking Russian. Smack, they were included on the trip. Then we worked 16 hours a day, six days a week. And I ate nothing because I was slimming down to me. So I was totally into it. It was the world’s meta-experience. Unable to have an overview before - I mean, how is preparing for a scene where the wolves will hunt and so we catch off the wolves and deer eat instead? Life and death, life and death, life and death, everything was at its apex in four months, over three continents. I came home this spring, with salmonella and weighed 15 kilograms less than before I went. I was totally utspejsad. Now it feels like a dream.
When we met last spoke you that you wanted a movie role where you could really prepare yourself, get up 20 kilograms and so. Now it was less then 15 kilograms instead?
- Yes, though I do not care in the blank where the pounds here and there. It is such a misconception. People considering and acting ambition or achievement in the number of pounds going up and down. It’s bullshit. I’ve gone in and things much more, with all the soul, where I have not had to go up or down one kilograms. It’s not difficult to lose weight, relative to what you invest in a role. The answer to my little twat issue is illustrative.
Gustaf Skarsgård gives the impression during the interview to take their profession very seriously, to work extremely hard and purposefully.