It would be easy for Alexander Skarsgard to skate by on his looks. He has the appearance of a Swedish Adonis, who gets to flash his abs on pretty much every episode of HBO’s hit series, True Blood. So it’s good to know that the actor still cares a great deal about his work.
“To me, it’s all about inspiration,” he told The New York Times. “What gets me creatively excited is a challenge. There’s gotta be a discovery. When I read a script and have my first interaction with this character, do I feel like there’s something I’m gonna learn here? If I feel like it’s something I’ve done before, then what’s the incentive for me to do it? That’s why, after playing Eric Northman [on True Blood] for seven months shooting a season, I don’t want to play Eric Northman in a movie, but just without fangs. I want to try new things.”
Skarsgard did just that with his new project, What Maisie Knew. The film is an adaptation of the Henry James novel, costarring Julianne Moore, and is currently premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The actor also gets to practice his American accent in most of his roles—an obstacle that helps him get in touch with his characters. “I come up with thousands of ideas, from how he speaks, what his posture is, how he walks,” Skarsgard said. “And then 99 percent will be crap. But then you filter it and you find the little things that you actually like, once you’ve thought about it for a while. And that’s how you start finding the character.”