Pop Culture

Read This & You Too Will Worship The Skarsgård Family

While we've been focusing our collective pop culture gaze on famous Hollywood families like the Smiths, the Kardashians, and the Cyruses, we've missed out on the most fascinating acting clan perhaps ever. I'll say it now, and I'll say it every day: No Hollywood clan can compete with the Skarsgårds.

The Skarsgårds are Big in Sweden, and are on their way to becoming Very Big in America. Stellan Skarsgård, an acclaimed Swedish actor, has eight (eight!) children, four of whom are actors. You already know Alexander from True Blood and Big Little Lies. His younger brother, Bill, hit it big playing Pennywise in IT. In April 2018, Gustaf is made his debut in Season 2 of Westworld (along with one of the Hemsworth brothers).


If anyone deserves a reality TV show filmed about their family, it's this warm, talented, Scandinavian clan. I can see the show playing out before me: Stellan’s unconventional parenting, boisterous actor-brothers arguing over political issues in their cozy light-wood summer cottage, and dinner party conversations filmed late into the night. If I sound crazily enthusiastic to you, it’s only because you haven’t met them yet. Welcome. Welcome to the future.

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Willi Schneider/REX/Shutterstock
Stellan Skarsgård: The Patriarch

Age: 66

Where You Know Him From: Odds are, if you’ve seen a Swedish movie (including The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), you’ve seen Stellan. In terms of Hollywood, Stellan played Eric Selvig in Thor, Bill in Mamma Mia, Bootstrap Bill Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and Gerald Lambeau in Good Will Hunting.

But I don’t just love Stellan for his acting. I love him for his outspoken opinions on parenting, which would make him the perfect character on a TV show. “From the age of 16, it’s not your business what they decide to do in life, you have to let them make those decisions themselves,” he told Swedish publication Aftonbladet. “Otherwise they will probably accuse you of ruining their lives, or think that they have a good life thanks to dad, and that would be equally horrific.”

He's groomed a clan of argumentative, opinionated kids. “I have tried to teach them to question everything. This forces you to think about whether you are right or wrong and to sharpen up arguments in defence of a position. It also makes for extremely loud gatherings,” Stellan told The Guardian.
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Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock
Alexander Skarsgård: The Vampire

Age: 42

Where You Know Him From: Skarsgård played Eric Northman on True Blood and Perry Wright on Big Little Lies. Before becoming the king of HBO, he played one of Derek Zoolander’s model friends killed in the gas station explosion in Zoolander. He was also Tarzan in Tarzan.

There are so many reasons to love Alexander Skarsgård. He wore full drag to the premiere of The Diary of a Teenage Girl for no apparent reason. After becoming famous as an actor at 13, he quit acting because he “wanted to be normal," and later joined the Swedish marines’ intelligence force at 19. He’s also an amazing actor, and kept me watching True Blood while the rest of show exploded into (highly enjoyable) nonsense.

Brits, take note. Alexander, notorious bachelor, recently told The Times he has always wanted to marry a British woman. “From a very early age, I’ve always thought I’ll end up with a Brit. There’s something about the mentality. Brits have a sensibility that I respond to. They make fun of themselves in a way that I really appreciate,” he said.
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Gustaf Skarsgård: The Viking

Age: 36

Where You Know Him From: Gustaf plays Floki on Vikings. What a good Scandinavian! You can look out for him in Season 2 of Westworld, where he plays Karl Strand.

Gustaf is such a good actor that even Daniel Day-Lewis, winner of two Academy Awards for Best Actor, raves about him. He described Gustaf as "one of the truly great."

As Alexander’s younger brother, he grew up with a wee bit of sibling rivalry — especially since Alexander is known for his strapping good looks. “As a 17-year-old and a pretentious acting school applicant, it was very easy to dismiss Alex as a superficial bimbo whore. And I did for many years. It took a very long time before he was able to win my respect as an actor," Gustaf told Cafe Magazine.
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Sam Skarsgård: The Doctor

Age: 35

Where You Know Him From: You don’t, unless you’re his patient in Stockholm. Sam works as as a physician in an ICU. His mother, My, is also a doctor.

“We’re either actors or doctors,” said Alexander of his family's professions Inquirer.

Bill, for one, doesn't think he and his actor siblings should get all the attention they do, compared to Sam.

"There's definitely a sense of embarrassment about what it is artists really do, at least for me in terms of acting. We have a mom and a brother who literally save lives," he told his brother, Alexander, in Interview.

Sam the doctor is pictured in fifth from the left.
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Do you recognize Bill here?

Try to unsee it!
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Dave M. Benett/Getty Images.
Eija Skarsgård: The Only Girl

Age: 25

Where You Know Her From: Eija is one of the few children who didn’t go into acting. She works as a model.

According to the way her relatives speak about her, Eija is the boss of the family. “During each of my wives’ subsequent pregnancies, my daughter would say, 'I hope it’s not a girl.' She’s very strong, stronger in many ways than the boys, and relishes her position,” Stellan wrote in The Guardian.

In Elle, Alexander backed up Eija’s powerful position in the family.

“When my sister Eija was maybe two and a half years old, she and my brother had an argument. Eija couldn't write, so she said, ‘Dad, write this down: Girls are always right.’ He taped that up on the kitchen wall. It's still hanging there.”

Eija is pictured on the left.
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Valter Skarsgård

Age: 21

Where You Know Him From: English speakers — or, at least, fans of the BBC — will be introduced to Valter's work when his Swedish drama, Black Lake, premieres later this year.

Bill has a premonition that Valter is the next big thing of the family — he also called him "better looking" on Jimmy Kimmel. But since I don't speak Swedish and haven't seen his acting chops, I can only judge him on the merit of his Instagram bio: "I exist to displease • Necessary Narcissist • Swedish "actor."
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Theo Wargo/WireImage
The Babies

In 2007, Stellan and My split up after over three decades of marriage. “They’re divorced but they’re best friends, and they live on the same street in South Stockholm, a block from each other,” Alexander told Den of Geek of the divorce's aftermath.

Stellan remarried in 2009, and has two children with his wife, Megan Everett: Kolbjörn Skarsgård (5) and Ossian Skarsgård (8).

Pictured: Stellan and Megan Everett
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The best part: They really like each other!

Stellan and his offspring love raving about each other in the press.

“I’m really proud over the fact that they’re all really nice, smart and good people. And of course I’m very happy that they’ve also become really great actors, because it would have been horrible for them otherwise. But I’m mostly proud over how all eight of them are when they’re together and how they act toward each other," Stellan said.

The feeling of admiration is mutual. “Me and my dad are best friends. I am so incredibly fucking proud of him,” Gustaf said.

It's clear that what the world needs now is a reality show about Large Adult Sons starring the Skarsgårds.
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