How very Swedish! The Golden Globe winning star Alexander Skarsgard says he has no problem with nudity or sex scenes onscreen

By Gillian Telling
March 06, 2019 03:11 PM
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Swedish star Alexander Skarsgård, 42, is the first to acknowledge that he plays a lot of troubled, brooding bad boy characters—who also happen to take their shirts off a lot.

But the star of the new World War II drama The Aftermath (also starring Keira Knightley, out March 15) shrugs when he’s asked if he’s ever had an issue with showing off his (fine, they’re incredible) abs.

“Of course not,” he tells PEOPLE. “I spent seven years on True Blood, and there was a lot of graphic nudity on that show.”

To read more about Alexander Skarsgård, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.

There was also a lot of crazy sex scenes, which he says he also had no problem with.

Alexander Skarsgård in The Legend of Tarzan
| Credit: Jonathan Olley

“The crazier the better,” he says. “I loved it. I really embraced it. It was a lot of fun.”

In fact, it was rumored that the single Skarsgård, who’s the son of actor Stellan and older brother to actors Bill (It) and Gustav(Vikings) was once in the running to play Christian Grey in the 50 Shades of Grey adaptation.

“I met the producers very early on but I never read the script or auditioned for it,” he says. “I never got that far. I think the author had a favorite, someone that she wanted to play that role.”

Still, things have never been busier in Skarsgård’s career. After breaking out in the U.S. with the 2008 HBO series Generation Kill, he landed the role of villainous vampire Eric Northman on True Blood before taking on another TV villain—domestic abuser Perry Wright in Big Little Lies, for which he won a Golden Globe.

“Swedes are quite uncomfortable talking about our accolades or accomplishments and ourselves in a way,” he says of his big win. “I get very uncomfortable doing that, hence not knowing what to do with the Golden Globe. I was like ‘Argh, this is awkward and embarrassing.’

Alexander Skarsgard Eric Northman in True Blood

Now, right after his acclaimed role in The Little Drummer Girl, he’s starring in two films at the same time: The Hummingbird Project, and The Aftermath, in which he plays a German widower who has an affair with Keira Knightley.

“Keira is phenomenal to work with,” he says. “She’s incredibly talented obviously, but also very open and generous and she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She has a very funny, self-deprecating sense of humor which I really enjoy. No big ego—she cares more about the relationship in the film than her own performance.”

Next he’ll star in the summer comedy The Long Shot, opposite Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen.

“I’m looking forward to a little bit of rest,” he says about taking a break from his current crazy schedule. “I grew up in a city so I like city life. I love going to rock clubs, bars, hanging out. But there are weekends when you don’t want that intensity…so I love exploring, going on long hikes or sailing trips, being out in nature. But essentially I’m a city boy.”