At HIFF: Alexander Skarsgård Loves the Hamptons, Critics Not So Much

alexander_skarsgard_getty300Greeting from the Hamptons International Film Festival! Located just a two-hour bus jaunt east of New York City, the fest seemed like an ideal place for Movieline to embark on an overnight filmgoing getaway. And just like that, I bumped into Alexander Skarsgård, who's here representing Lars von Trier's spellbinding (if mildly embattled) masterpiece Melancholia.

Melancholia features Skarsgård as Michael, the newlywed husband of a young woman (played by Kirsten Dunst) wracked with crippling depression on their wedding day -- which may or may not have something to do with the appearance of a giant planet on a collision course with Earth. As I write, the movie's screening at the multiplex (Melancholia God bless them) across the street, outside which the True Blood heartthrob and recent Straw Dogs baddie spent two minutes catching his breath on Main Street. We had a word in the red-carpet whirlwind.

This is crazy, right?

Yeah! Especially considering I just got off a plane from Sweden. It's like, wild.

Yowza. I heard you're a Hamptons regular?

I've actually been coming out a lot this summer, because I've been shooting in New York the past two and a half months. My best friend, who's out here tonight with her husband, they have a house out in Amagansett. So on weekends, when I'm done shooting, that's where I go off to. I've been out there a lot this year.

I think you're the third Skarsgård we've interviewed in the last year after your father, Stellan, and your younger brother Bill. What's the professional dynamic like in the family? Is it competitive? Do you guys ever want the same roles?

Well, I'm 14 years older than Bill, and my brother Gus, we're quite different. We usually don't go after the same parts. So I wouldn't say its competitive. But we do talk a lot about work, and we do encourage each and try to keep each other motivated.

And you and father co-star in Melancholia, which is a masterpiece -- but seems kind of overshadowed these days by the Lars von Trier circus.

Not really.

Really? Do you think he's done a disservice to the film? Or is all publicity good publicity?

I mean, I don't think he did. The movie's so strong, and I think pretty quickly, people are focusing on the movie again after that comment.

Straw Dogs had a tough go of things recently, which is too bad. What was your take on the film and its reception?

I don't know. I don't read reviews, so... I don't like knowing.

Did you see it?

Yeah! Yeah, I've seen it. I'm happy with it! I think it's good, and I'm happy with my part.

But no reviews.

No. No, I just... don't.

Not even the positive ones?


And, uh... scene. Anyway, more to come this weekend (hopefully!) as Movieline's HIFF coverage rolls on.


  • Mel says:

    I really don't blame him for not wanting to read what critics say about his work. Too often there is a great disparity between what the average moviegoer and what the critics say about a movie. How is an actor supposed to feel about their performance if it gets mixed reviews or if the public loves it but critics blast it? He really is better off to just ignore it altogether. Most of the time, the saying runs true "you are your own worst critic". Nothing anyone else says will likely be as tough on him as his own opinion of his performance. Continue to ignore the critics, and just keeping giving your best, Alex! We love you for it!

  • Morgo says:

    If you really think Melancholia's a masterpiece, why do you keep trying to keep the controversy alive?

  • Because it's newsworthy. The Cannes debacle casts a long enough shadow over the upcoming theatrical release that it warrants asking the question.