Alexander Skarsgard on ‘Disconnect’, ‘True Blood’ and Taking Risks In Front of the Camera: “If you’re not comfortable, you’re going to play it safe”

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Despite being on HBO’s True Blood for more than six seasons, Alexander Skarsgard is still enjoying his time playing vampire, Eric Northman.

“I think the writers are so good on the show and they keep it interesting for us, as actors, hopefully as well as for the audience,” he said in an interview with Collider.  “But, it doesn’t feel redundant.  I don’t feel like we’re doing the same thing, over and over again.  Every season is unique and I get to try new things.  They put Eric in situations and with characters that are new and interesting.  I keep learning new things about him, and I feel that he keeps on growing, as a character.  The day that I don’t feel that any longer is the day to move on, but it’s still fun.”

Skarsgard  is continually surprised by the fact that he gets scripts so akin to his role on True Blood, claiming that he would hate to do just a variation on what he’s already been doing.  “I get a lot of scripts sent my way that are very similar, where they want me to play, basically, Eric Northman,” he said.  “Maybe without fangs, but it’s the same character.  What’s the incentive?  Why would I want to do that?  If I just spent six months shooting a show, doing that, I want to do Lincoln in What Maisie Knew or Benji in The East or Derek in Disconnect—something that’s different.  It hasn’t been about, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta show people that I’m versatile.’  That’s not it.  For me, creatively, I’d suffocate if I played the same thing, over and over again.  I want those challenges.  I want to sit down with a director and be like, ‘I’ve never done this before, but it’s going to be exciting.  It’s scary, but really thrilling, so let’s do it!’”

The Swedish actor thinks he found this type of challenging character in his new movie, Disconnect.  The thriller follows several people in their quest to connect despite modern technology.  Although it seems like some of the movie is improvised, Skarsgard said, “To Andrew Stern’s credit, who wrote the script, most of it is actually scripted.  But it’s very well-written, so it hopefully sounds very real and organic.  That’s always what you want, isn’t it?  You want it to feel improvised, like it’s just happening and they’re just saying what they’re feeling.  So, most of it was scripted, but there were moments.

“Henry [Alex Rubin, the director] made us all feel very comfortable on set, and when you’re that comfortable, you allow yourself to take more risks and to be terrible in front of the camera.  If you’re not comfortable, you’re going to play it safe.  But, when you’re surrounded by someone like Henry and a great crew, and other actors that you feel comfortable with and are having a good time with, you take more risks, you’re crazier and you do something that doesn’t work at all, and then you just laugh and do something different.  That’s also how you surprise yourself and find something new and fresh that’s unexpected.”

Disconnect is playing in select theaters.

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