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It’s no secret that Eric Northman, played by Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, is our favorite bloodsucking nightwalker on HBO’s addictive series, True Blood. Besides his piercing blue eyes, Viking-esque bone structure, and abs that could cut glass, Eric has more game than Magic Mike. Lucky for us mortals who need help in the flirting department, Skarsgård and Calvin Klein have teamed up to give us a fragrance we can fully stand behind: ENCOUNTER Calvin Klein. The campaign for the new cologne stars Skarsgård in a series of ads that are just as sensual as the scent itself. With brilliant creative director Fabien Baron and leading lady/supermodel Lara Stone thrown into the mix, this may be the biggest men’s campaign for Calvin since Marky Mark dropped his drawers.
We sat down with Skarsgård at the Greenwich Hotel in NYC to find out if his alter ego Eric would wear the seductive scent, what his Euro-pop guilty pleasure is, and all the shows he’s addicted to this season. Ladies, you’ll be surprised to find out the sexiest thing about the actor is his choice in television programming…Now, who’s ready for a one-on-one encounter with A-Skars?
You don’t strike us as a big grooming guy. Why did you decide to be part of the ENCOUNTER Calvin Klein Campaign?
“It was a combination of a couple of things. This is my first campaign. There has been a couple of opportunities before, where it just hasn’t felt right. With Calvin just being such a great house, I was honored. They’ve never worked with an actor before on a fragrance, so I was very flattered that they asked me. Creatively, it was a team I have worked with before, including Fabien Baron, who is, in my opinion, one of the greatest [art directors] of the past couple of decades — he’s done all the CK campaigns for 20-25 years. Obviously he’s got Interview magazine and I did something with them two years ago. Steven Klein shot that. I don’t know if you’ve seen it but it’s kind of dark, it’s out there. I’m on a bed with a leather glove and a baseball bat. It’s pretty wild, pretty crazy. We had a really fun weekend together shooting that. They’re so cool those guys, both creative and fun.
Alexander Skarsgard doesn’t know where the rumors about him playing Christian Grey started, but he’s not doing anything to squash them.
The Swedish actor, best known as a vampire on HBO’s True Blood vampire, is among the Hollywood hunks suggested to star in the film adaptation of “50 Shades of Grey,” the first of three S&M-themed books that women flocked to read on Kindles this summer.
Fueling the buzz is a new short film Skarsgard did as the face of Calvin Klein’s new fragrance for men, Encounter. The two-minute video was shot in a dark, film-noir-type style. It opens with Skarsgard driving through a rain storm to a house on a cliff. As waves crash below, he makes his way to the all-glass top floor, where longtime CK model Lara Stone awaits. The clip cuts just as they are about to kiss. “Alexander Skargard (sic) should totally play Christian Grey!!!” reads the top comment on the video’s YouTube post, with 34 “likes.”
Skarsgard did press interviews for the new fragrance in a two-story loft at swanky the Greenwich Hotel. Clad in all black, the tall actor lounged on a white sofa and, knowingly or not, played the part of the dominating-but-charming-yet-removed fictional Christian Grey. (When this reporter went to smell the fragrance from the bottle on the table in front of him, he thrust his wrist up as an alternative.)
The blonde-haired, blue-eyed actor shared his fragrance-wearing philosophy, mused about his True Blood alter ego and played coy about “50 Shades.”
Why did you want to be a part of the fragrance?
It’s my first kind of campaign. This felt like the right one because of a combination of things. First of all, Calvin is a great house. I was very flattered. Creatively, it felt interesting. I worked with [French art director and director of the short film] Fabien Baron, who is arguably one of the greatest art directors of our time and he’s behind all of their legendary campaigns. I’ve also worked with Lara Stone. Peter Lindbergh shot us two years ago together for Vogue and she is so great—so great—so much fun to work with and laid back and no ego, just very cool girl.
After the premiere of True Blood’s season 5 at the Roma Fiction Fest, a Q&A was held. Here are the videos that seem to have been recorded by fans (although the image isn’t so good, the audio is fine). It’s split in two parts, which you can see below and under the cut. There’s also a different video of the same Q&A up on youtube, which can be found here.
Alex was in Rome earlier this week, to attend the Roma Fiction Fest in Italy with his True Blood co-stars Kristin Bauer and Valentina Cervi. A premiere for Season 5 was held, as well as a press conference. Check out a video below where he talks about his impressions of Italian fans, True Blood and much more.
Last night on the roof of Manhattan’s Skylight at the McKittrick Hotel, Calvin Klein hosted a party in honor of steamy vampire sheriff Alexander Skarsgård, the face of the brand’s new men’s scent, Encounter. Though the fragrance hit shelves earlier this month, the brand didn’t have a chance to officially honor the Swedish actor until now owing to his busy movie-star schedule. As waiters passed pork meatballs (and a ghostly looking grandma weaved through the crowd — we guessed she was part of the Sleep No More troupe), Skarsgård took a moment to talk about his favorite smells, which are found only in Sweden, his home country.
What’s your favorite smell?
That would be the smell of my family’s country house in southern Sweden where I spent every summer as a kid. It’s an old wooden house from the twenties that my dad’s father built. It has that moldy smell and my grandfather’s cigar lingering on the walls.
What smell reminds you most of your childhood?
There was a sausage factory where I grew up in south Stockholm. It’s a very trendy neighborhood now, but then it was working class. A block away from our apartment building there was this sausage factory, and every morning when I went to school, I would smell the sausages. And it’s not like a nice smelling chorizo, it’s a nasty, pretty foul smell.
What smell makes you the happiest?
Fall in Stockholm around this time of year is great. If you go back there in October, the air is so clean and crisp. I miss that.
You best know him for his role as the chillingly sexy vampire, Eric Northman, on HBO’s True Blood and for fronting Calvin Klein fragrance ads. The dashing Swedish actor, known for his tall stance (he’s 6 feet 4 inches) and blindingly blue eyes, attended an event for Calvin Klein Encounter cologne last night on the rooftop of the theater in NYC that houses the thrilling Sleep No More play. After sipping some bubbly, ELLE.com chatted with Skarsgård about those Fifty Shades of Grey rumors, playing Eric, and which city has the loveliest ladies.
Name: Alexander Skarsgård
Provence: Los Angeles, CA
Relationship status: Presumably single
On being featured in ELLE.com’s Hot Topic column. “I’m very honored. That’s what I’m here celebrating tonight. That’s the only reason I’m here. I heard rumors I’d be the hot guy of the week.”
What it feels like to be the face of Calvin Klein Encounter cologne. “I hadn’t really done campaigns before, but I felt like if I was ever going to do it, then this is the one. Calvin Klein is such a cool, classy house. It’s got a great creative team behind it—Fabien Baron and Steven Klein. I had worked with Lara Stone before and enjoyed it. So it felt like the stars aligned. It felt like the one. I was excited about it. I was flattered and honored; they had never worked with a male actor on a fragrance before.”
“I have no idea. I haven’t read a script, and I don’t think there’s a script out there. And I haven’t read the novels, so it’s difficult to say. The first thing you do is read the script, and then you feel if you’re good for it or not.”
Is it more fun to play “good” or “bad” Eric on True Blood? “I like both, I like the combination. I like that he has both of those sides, both of those Erics within, that’s what makes him real. He is not good or bad, he is capable of both. Even thought he’s a vampire, that’s how you can relate to him. We are all good and bad.”
Which city has the best-looking women? “Stockholm, Sweden. Just go, and you’ll know. And guys, as well. You’ll enjoy it.”
Alexander Skarsgård is tall. It’s a fact I had been told or read several times prior to meeting him. Words like viking, a fitting description based on his Swedish nationality, were used over and over and going in to interview the face of Calvin Klein’s new Encounter fragrance, I was mentally prepped to be dwarfed by his hulking presence. It is true; Skarsgård is tall. Tall in a way that, unlike most Hollywood actors, probably doesn’t necessitate him to stand on a crate while shooting scenes with female co-stars. You don’t necessarily expect someone with the physical presence of a Nordic superhero to have the most affable personality but the True Blood actor does, equally at ease talking about his new role for one of the most well-known fashion brands in the world as he is offering up travel tips in his hometown. We caught up with Skarsgård towards the tail end of a packed press day, as he took appointments seated on an oversized couch opposite a tv playing his Encounter commercial on repeat.
GQ: How’s it been watching yourself on a loop all day?
Alexander Skarsgård: This is what I do. Hanging out in my humble abode, watching myself. No it’s fucking surreal.
GQ: So what did you think when you saw the final cut of the clip?
Skarsgård: I thought they did a great job. What attracted me to it was that it was so dark and moody. It felt like something Fritz Lang would’ve directed, something out of the German Expressionism movement in the ’20s. I think they really captured that. So I’m very happy with how it turned out. But then I just walked by that freaking billboard and it’s surreal, seeing yourself the size of Godzilla.
GQ: And you’re already a pretty tall guy. You’re actually the first male to ever front a fragrance campaign for the brand, was that something that resonated with you when you were approached for the project?
Skarsgård: Of course it did. I was very humbled by that. This is my first big campaign. For me the feeling was that if I was going to do something I want it to be fun and creatively great. When this came up it was perfect; Calvin is such an amazing house, Fabien Baron is arguably the greatest art director of our time and we had worked together before for an Interview magazine shoot that Steven Klein shot. So I knew those guys and I also worked with Lara on something for Vogue two years ago shot by Peter Lingbergh – which is a much different experience from a Steven Klein shoot. So when this came up and Fabien explained the concept, that we were going to shoot a short and that the tone was going to be in this dark, film noir style, I just thought if I’m ever going to do it this is the one.
Hello ASkars! We’re really sorry for the lack of updates, but not to worry, they’re coming sooner than you think.
Now, here’s a half-hour interview with Alex and directors of What Masie Knew Scott McGehee and David Siegel, from Toronto.
Siegel and McGehee make a strong move back to conventional storytelling after experimenting with “Uncertainty”
TORONTO — A broken-family melodrama with a minimum of histrionics, Scott McGehee’s and David Siegel’s What Maisie Knew begins from scenes that will be familiar to most viewers who’ve witnessed a custody battle. Things get pretty orchestrated from that familiar scenario onward, but never to the point of unbelievability; the sad tidiness of the film’s resolution (and the way it departs from the Henry James book it’s based on) makes it all the more appealing at the box office, where it should have the broadest appeal of any of the duo’s films to date.
Maisie is a six year-old New Yorker (Onata Aprile) in a position to know a great deal. She knows her rock-star mother (Julienne Moore) is too busy arguing with Dad (Steve Coogan) to pay for the pizza delivery she ordered; she knows Dad tries extra hard to be cute when her nanny Margo (Joanna Vanderham) is in the room. She knows Mom and Dad aren’t going to live together anymore, and there’s a lot of arguing over how much time she’ll spend with him. Most importantly, she knows how to keep some of these things at bay — as the adult relationships around her grow more disturbed, she coasts along as best she can, wisely choosing ignorance when Mom asks if Daddy (now in his own apartment, with the nanny there to help when Maisie’s with him) is ever so happy to see Margo he gives her a kiss.
He is, of course, and when he marries his former employee, Maisie’s mother Susanna feels she must compete in the court’s eyes — making her own home just as family-like by marrying a younger man (Alexander Skarsgård’s Lincoln) she hardly knows. The closest thing to an innocent in all this aside from Maisie, Lincoln — a lanky Southerner whose body sometimes seems to fold inward on itself in deference to those around him — can’t help but befriend the girl, a development that (to a perhaps implausible degree) disturbs Susanna. “You don’t get a bonus for making her fall in love with you,” Susanna snaps at one point, making us wonder whether that’s a literal comment, and she has actually paid the bartender to be a prop husband.
What’s more emotionally abusive to a child whose parents have split — failing to show up for days when it’s time for her to stay at your place (both sides are guilty here), or spending your time with her on loud, “he can’t get away with this” phone calls to a lawyer? Steve Coogan’s Beale is an up-front narcissist; Susanna needs her daughter’s welfare as an excuse to make everything about her own desires.
Moore has the most complicated part to play here, as a woman who really believes she loves her daughter more than anything but is blind to what such a devotion might mean in practice. Over and over, she relies on Lincoln to pick Maisie up from school, watch her when a gig beckons, improvise when necessary. It’s inevitable that he will come to identify with Margot, who fills the same role for Beale.
And another thing Maisie knows is to trust the people who actually take care of her — never voicing an allegiance that would exclude anyone she cares for, but eagerly accepting love that’s offered in the form of actions as well as words. In this modern take on a century-old story, that distinction remains the most valuable one of all.