Worked With:

Margot Robbie

Ben Stiller

Andrea Riseborough

Bel Powley

Jeff Bridges

Anna Paquin

Danny McBride

Conan O'Brien

Alexander Skarsgard Biography

Home > Actors > S > Skarsgard, Alexander > Biography

Birth Name: Alexander Skarsgard
Born: 08/25/1976
Birth Place: Sweden

Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård was born on Aug. 25, 1976 in Stockholm, Sweden. He started acting at age eight when a director friend of his father, the famed Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, gave him a part in the film version of the children's book, "Åke och hans vårld" ("Ake and His World") (1984). A number of TV and film roles followed; by the time he reached 13, Skarsgård decided that he would not pursue an acting career. After a brief stint in the military, Skarsgård gave acting another shot. He attended Leeds Metropolitan University in London before moving to New York City to study theater at Marymount Manhattan College. After six months in the city, Skarsgård returned to Sweden to continue acting. But like his famous father, Skarsgård longed to make a name for himself outside of his native country. He moved to Los Angeles, found representation, and quickly landed a part in Ben Stiller's comedy "Zoolander" (2001). In his American film debut, Skarsgård portrayed a mindless Eurotrash model who dies in a gasoline fire. Then it was back to Sweden, where he appeared in more films and stage productions, and co-directed the critically acclaimed short, "Att döda ett barn," ("To Kill a Child") (2003), a powerful drama about the consequences of speeding. The film was shown at both the Tribeca and Cannes Film Festivals.

Skarsgård finally had his big break playing a Marine team leader on the miniseries "Generation Kill" based on Evan Wright's account as a reporter embedded with recon Marines in the early part of 2003. The physically challenging role, which required Skarsgård to hang on wires in the stifling heat of Namibia and mutter unfamiliar Marine slang, earned him praise from critics and audiences, including director Alan Ball who immediately cast him on "True Blood." Skarsgård played Eric Northman, the 1,000-year-old Viking sheriff of the undead. Based on the book series by Charlaine Harris, the intriguing vampire saga averaged about five million viewers a week, and transformed its stars into A-list celebrities. As the sexy and politically manipulative vampire Eric, he lurked mostly in the shadows in season one, but became a critical part of the series in later seasons as he tried to steal Sookie away from her vampire love interest, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). To the delight of the show's fans, Skarsgård's character often engaged in rapid-fire sex scenes, including a much-talked about tryst in season three with the vampire Talbot (Theo Alexander) that ended in a blood-curdling staking.

In 2011, Skarsgård starred in a remake of the thriller "Straw Dogs," about a couple, David and Amy Sumner (James Marsden and Kate Bosworth, respectively) who fall victim to vicious local harassment. Skarsgård and Bosworth played ex-lovers in the film, and dated off-screen, though they had split by the time the movie debuted. Later that fall, Lars von Trier's atmospheric drama "Melancholia" received an American release, with Skarsgård intentionally toning down his charm to play a man spurned by his newlywed wife (Kirsten Dunst). After a supporting role in the widely derided aliens vs. military movie "Battleship" (2012), he appeared in a number of lower-profile films that won over many critics, including the thoughtful melodrama "What Maisie Knew" (2013), with Julianne Moore, and the indie thriller "The East" (2013), co-starring Ellen Page and Brit Marling. In the summer of 2013, it was announced that "True Blood" would end with its seventh season, giving fans a limited time to appreciate the vampiric wonder of Skarsgård's Eric Northman.