January 18, 2018
Du Forsvinder co-star, Nikolaj Lie Kaas,
recently spoke to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet about
their relationship. The Danish actor has a role in the
upcoming HBO Nordic fantasy series, Britannia.
During filming, Nikolaj received support from Michael.
He says, "For a short period, he meant everything to me.
When doing Britannia, he called me and asked how
I felt and wanted to hear how my life was. He said
nothing about his illness." Nicolaj was crushed when he
received the news of his death. The fact that Michael
did not want to talk about his cancer came as a surprise
to him. He explains, "It was because he was proud. I
understand that. At the same time, I was shocked and a
little disappointed that he would not tell me."
One major reason why Nikolaj loved
making "Du forsvinder"
was because of Michael. Despite the seriousness of the
film, they laughed through the scenes. He says, "He was
so calm. I really miss him. There are no words for how
kind and generous he was. He was one of the most
generous I have ever met."
* * * * *
BTW, if you're a big fan of
som i himmelen
(As It is in Heaven), you might like to check out this
web site of
One of the images on this web site
shows an album of family photos and the child shown is
Michael as an adorable toddler.
January 14, 2018
Last week a show was aired on Swedish
television called "Together Against Cancer" with
Michael's widow Catherina as a guest. She spoke about
her heartache losing her husband to lung cancer in June
and about how he handled the diagnosis.
She said, "Micke was absolutely sure
that he would be fine. He had so much hope and power."
After the diagnosis, they spent a lot of time together.
She added, "We suddenly were very much together and did
everything together as we always wanted. It was a very
For Michael, it was important that he
did not become his illness. He would keep working.
Catharina described how they both had difficulty
understanding how serious it was. She couldn't
understand how he had lung cancer when he was always
healthy and sporty and never smoked.
At the end, he suffered from
pneumonia and became very ill. He was not hospitalized
but received home care. A nurse told Catharina the night
before he died, "I just want you to know that pneumonia
is very serious and there is a risk that it cannot be
Tearing up, Catharina explained how
he had gone to the bathroom and asked for help because
he felt very dizzy. She went to help him and then he
fainted. She said, "I did not think he could die."
She wanted to participate in
"Together Against Cancer" to show that being alone
doesn't help. She said, "I know I called a lot of
friends and suddenly the house was full of people...
Together we can help each other... We lived together for
23 years so he was my best friend. The only thing that
has worked is being with other people."
January 12, 2018
Though Michael has a very minor role
in the 2008 historical film,
(The Kautokeino Rebellion), I would recommend it for its
compelling story, its haunting soundtrack and
magnificent cinematography. The film is based on
the true story of the Kautokeino riots in Kautokeino,
Norway in 1852 in response to the Norwegian exploitation
of the Sami community at that time. The Norwegian Sami
director Nils Gaup was born in Kautokeino and descended
from one of the insurgents.
the mainly Norwegian cast, the film features three major
Swedish actors. Besides Michael, it stars Mikael
Persbrandt (Day and Night) and Peter Andersson (The
Millennium Trilogy). Though some of the cast has the
same last name of the director, they are not related.
Michael plays the preacher Lars Levi Laestadius who
founded the Laestadian pietist revival movement to help
his largely Sami congregations, who were being ravaged
by alcoholism. Gaup wanted to follow up this film with
one that focused entirely on this character. He said, "I
see a role figure like Amadeus in front of me. And
Michael has the charisma needed. We have already talked
about it." Alas, the project never came to fruition.
cinematography by Philip Øgaard makes the film
well worth watching especially in its sweeping panoramas
and the way it captures the snowy landscape and the
grandeur of the reindeer herds. To match the action, the
soundtrack provides what I would call new age music
composed by Mari Boine, Svein Schultz & Herman Rundberg.
It all blends together beautifully.
Whe co-star, Norwegian-Sam actor Mikke Gaup, received
the news of Michael's death, he was among those who
expressed great sorrow:
"It's an unbelievably sad message to get.
Michael was a very talented and distinctly Swedish
In the top spot for many years."
January 7, 2018
A new film page! If any of you have
viewed HEM LJUVA HEM (Home
you know it's not an easy film to watch except to see an
explosive Michael Nyqvist play a distinctly dislikable
character. It was a low-budget film (0.9 million Euro),
which debuted in 2001,
about a wife-beating husband with terrible outbursts of
rage. It was a partly autobiographical story by young
first-time director Dan Ying, a former film editor and
For the second time, Michael played
an abusive husband and this time he also displayed
violent behavior toward his son. In Luke Moodysson's
highly successful film "Tillsammans" [Together], his
anger is the reason why the family flees to a
Michael saw the difference between
Rolf and Kent - "One says sorry immediately while the
other regrets nothing. These films give a voice to what
you do not talk about. The violence and stupidity that
can be found behind the beautiful façade with family,
villa and car. Kent is unemployed, has lost control of
himself, is completely fucked-up. There are such people.
Every twenty-four minutes a woman in Sweden is being
Playing an abusive husband and father
was tough for Michael. He admitted, "I never go into a
role half-heartedly. I liked the feeling in the script.
I knew that Kent really loved his wife and child but I
couldn't forgive him."
He explained that his own
grandfather, who died in the 1930s, is his family's
black ghost in the closet because he used to hit his
children with a stick. Michael said, "Personally, I have
never hit a single person throughout my life."
Five years later Stasse Soulis, who
plays Kent's son Stefan, and Michael went on to play
another father and son pair in the film
älskade" [Suddenly]. Working together they
formed a lasting friendship and Stasse was quite
saddened and surprised by Michael's death. Here's a
photo of him at the July funeral. You'll note from his
name that his father was Greek but his mother was
He recalls, "We had a pretty special
relationship. In a certain way we became father and son.
I have not learned as much about acting from anyone
Stasse talks about how Michael took
him under his wings and helped him with his career,
giving him advice about stage school. He also fixed
agents for him - the same as he himself had. That was
who called him on June 27th with the news of Michael's
The last time Stasse saw Michael was
at the premiere of "A Serious
Game" during the fall of 2016. Soulis says, "He was
his usual happy self so I had no idea. And then... It
was damn, damn tough when his death happened so
unexpectedly... I will remember him as my greatest
source of inspiration, my mentor and my idol."
January 1, 2018
Each year, Scandinavia House in
NYC presents the films chosen by Nordic countries to
compete for the Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign
Language Film. This year the series will feature
Du forsvinder (You
Disappear) on Friday, January 5 at 7 pm. The Danish film
will be presented with English subtitles.
* * * * *
This past week Dagens Nyheter ran an
ad placed by his wife Catharina and his children Ellen
and Arthur. The family wanted to thank everyone who
showed support in their difficult time. The ad read,
"Thank you to all those who attended Michael's funeral
and made an unbearable day a little brighter." In
addition, the ad confirmed that the Michael Nyqvist
Foundation has become a reality - "Special
thanks to those who donated to the Michael Nyqvist
Foundation, which enables us to advance Micke's
conviction of acting as a healing power in society. Each
year, the Foundation will appoint an actor who works in
his spirit. All contributions to the Foundation are
* * * * *
Here's the photo the IMDB used for
Michael in their "In Memoriam". I'm glad they didn't use
one from the Millennium trilogy but I would have
preferred a better photo.
December 28, 2017
Swedish media has announced that the
2004 film "Så som i himmelen"
(aka "As It is in Heaven") will now become a musical.
Ten years ago theater producer Vicky von der Lancken
contacted director Kay Pollak to discuss the possibility
of making a musical based on the film, which won many
international achievements. It was nominated for an
Oscar in Hollywood for Best Foreign Language Film in
2004. Conversation continued between the two and in
recent years tense work began. Now Lancken and Pollak
have decided that on September 13, 2018, the musical of
the film will premiere at the Oscar Theater in
The title track, "Gabriella's song",
will be included but Lancken and Pollak have decided
that the performance in its entirety will be filled with
moodful music in a broad spectrum. The script is by Kay
Pollak and his wife Carin.
"We will fill the musical with newly
written songs and well choreographed dances... The
vision is a magnificent, beautiful, happy and moving
musical. A spectacular musical experience to remember,
filled with love, dance and song." says Lancken.
Pollak responds, "We are going to
make a Swedish Puccini. Both pain and love."
The musical is being produced by
Vicky Nöjesproduktion and 2Entertain.
* * * * *
In a tribute to those who have died
in 2017, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter featured this
photo of Michael.
December 24, 2017
December 22, 2017
Adding to Michael's filmography, I've
posted the film page for the 1999 Swedish comedy,
by Daniel Lind Lagerlöf with a screenplay
by his wife Malin. The
English title was "Breaking Out" and the story was
inspired by a true event when Jan Jönsson directed
Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" at Kumla Prison and
took the ensemble of inmates to Gothenburg's City
Theater for a official opening performance. Four out of
five of the inmates escaped.
tragedy struck the director at the early age of 42.
While doing research for an upcoming movie and
taking photos, Lagerlöf disappeared from two other
members of the crew, and has not been seen since October
6, 2011. He is presumed dead near Tanumshede on the
Swedish west coast.
The film was quite successful in the
Scandinavian countries and had a social involvement
which created direct associations to the British success
of The Full Monty and the classic "One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest." It was also released in Italy, Germany,
Argentina, Spain and Greece. Lagerlöf received two
awards - the Audience Award at the
Lübeck Nordic Film Days and
Most Enjoyable Film at the Norwegian International Film
Festival. The screenplay was nominated for a Guldbagge
and the film's star, Björn Kjellman, won a Guldbagge for
Best Actor while Shanti Roney won for Best Supporting
Chinese fan wrote me recently about one of the cast
members in this film - Swedish-Chinese actor
Lixin Zhao. When Michael
died in June, he posted the following along with this
"Michael, dear old friend, your
footsteps to heaven come too fast! You big, handsome
and happy man, wherever you went, those beautiful
girls smiled at you like sunflowers. The scene of us
running on the field feels like yesterday... Now go
old friend, we will meet sooner or later. May your
whistle in heaven be loud."
December 17, 2017
As an actor, Michael has always
looked for unique and creative projects, never afraid to
try something new. In 2014 he participated in Meriç
Algün Ringborg's 32-minute video called "A World of
Blind Chance", which became part of her exhibition
at the Frieze Art Fair in New York. In an exercise in
constrained writing, she composed a script for a theater
play using only the Oxford English Dictionary's
exemplifying sentences. All the lines in the monologue
were delivered by Michael and all his moves and details
of the set were dictated by Algün Ringborg in her
attempt to explore the act of writing and creating by
not writing or making anything. It was a look at
authorship, language and creativity. Very heady and
existentialistic. The film was also screened at
the Stockholm Literature Festival at the Modern Museum.
In an interview with Algün Ringborg,
she explained the process: "The off-screen voice is the
author/director character that both narrates the
situation but also commands the actor in what to do and
how to do it. I see this dictating and authoritarian
side of the narrator as a force that creates a tension
between all parties involved. In this version of the
performance, I worked with Michael Nyqvist, who has been
at the Royal Dramatic Theatre for a long time, but he
wasn't allowed to rehearse the script beforehand. So the
half-hour video is basically edited from his first few
takes, where he is reading from the script and trying to
get a grasp of it whilst acting it out the way the
off-screen voice narrates. The struggle that he is going
through, trying to understand this rather nonsensical
ramble and make the lines into his own whilst performing
put him in quite a vulnerable position. And I was, in a
way, after that vulnerability as I wanted equally to
explore what happened in between the lines, and if
within these in-betweens there was the expression of the
self, the individualistic traits of that person."
December 13, 2017
In 1996 Michael joined the cast of
Bille August's epic period piece
JERUSALEM in a very minor role, so
minor that he didn't even have a name. He was referred
to as Carpenter 1 in the cast list. The movie was based
on the two-part novel of the same name by Selma Lagerlöf.
It was also broadcast as a TV series and the
Scandinavian co-production was headed by Svensk
Filmindustri. The film was selected as the Swedish entry
for Best Foreign Language Film at the 69th Academy
Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
The cast is quite stellar with many
familiar names who have acted with Michael in other
films - Max Von Sydow, Pernilla August, Maria Bonnevie,
Hans Alfredson, Sven-Bertil Taube, Björn Granath and
Lena Endre, who won a Guldbagge for her performance.
The novel and the film were inspired
by real events from the end of the 19th century, a time
when many people left Europe to find a better life
abroad. The cinematography is lovely. The Swedish
countryside is bleakly beautiful, and the film's Mideast
sequences, actually shot in Morocco, range across
desolate, rocky, sun-broiled deserts. These places are
allegorical, expressions of the inner torment,
renunciation, and uncertainty that the unsmiling God of
Jerusalem insists on.
As I said, Michael's role is
extremely brief with a couple lines of dialogue, but
it's certainly a worthwhile watching. The entire film
can be viewed [in Swedish] at youtube.com. The links are
given on the film page.
On a personal note, my favorite film
from Danish director Bille August is "Pelle the
Conquerer" with Max Von Sydow. This endearing film
rightfully won the Best Foreign-language Picture Oscar
in 1987. Highly recommended!
* * * * *
In July I posted some photos of
Michael appearing as a guest on the Swedish TV cooking
show "Pluras Jul", hosted by musician Plura Jonsson. It
was aired around Christmas a year ago and last week it
was broadcast again. You can view a clip from the show
on Plura's Instagram page
at this link.
In a recent interview with Expressen,
Plura shared that during that recording, Michael had
told him he had cancer. Plura says, "I thought that he
would be fine. He was young and healthy. Then less than
a year later he was dead. I took it quite hard."
Plura said he had met Michael last
year months before he was a guest on his October 2016
recording. He had come to PA & Co to ask Plura if he
could play bass in his program. He apparently played
bass guitar. That first meeting grew into a nice
friendship. The two of them continued to hang out and
talk on the phone every now and then. Michael used to
call from different hotels rooms around the world. Plura
recalls, "He was very much out in the world. He used to
call in the middle of the night from a hotel room in
Moscow or Los Angeles. He was an amazing person, kind
December 9, 2017
Keeping his positive spirit alive...
A year ago Michael posted this holiday photo of himself.
So cool! Did he know it might be his last Christmas?
While we miss his presence here on earth, I'm sure he's
dancing with the angels this year.
* * * * *
In the "Books"
section, I have added a review of
"När barnet lagt sig" by the Vancouver Observer.
The book is a charming compilation of
memories from his childhood and his experiences in
theatre school at a young age. He recounts being
mesmerized by the magic of theatre after performing a
dramatic scene from Crime and Punishment, and
getting some positive feedback from highly acclaimed
Nyqvist was only a few years old when his parents told
him he was adopted, and that his father was from Italy.
Throughout the book, the reader gets to follow his
tireless quest to find his biological parents. Nyqvist
sends a touching letter to his mother beginning with: "I
want to thank you for me being here...". When he finally
meets his mother, she refuses to reveal any details
about his father and they are not able to connect with
each other on a deeper level.
Through meticulous and fearless research, he finally
succeeds in finding his father in Florence, Italy, and
to his surprise and joy, he is welcomed with open arms
into his Latin family.
There is an under layer of sadness throughout the book,
and even though he succeeds in finding his roots, the
emotional turmoil of finding out he was dropped off at
an orphanage as a newborn has left deep emotional scars.
Nyqvist pours his heart into his
writing, much like he does with his acting, and the
result is a beautifully written book that showcases his
gentle, reflective personality. His writing also
highlights his determination and willingness to go to
great lengths to perform his craft, to find out where he
came from and where his place is in the world.
You can view a video interview
at this link in which Michael discusses his
first book in 2009. Here's a photo of another interview
in April 2010 with Sharon Jåma.
In September 2009 Aftonbladet
featured an article on the book. Michael wrote about how
a child listens to adults speak in another room. Then
you hear how they suddenly lower their voices. You
understand that what they are talking about will affect
your whole life, but you are completely powerless. He
understood there were secrets but he didn't know what
they were. He compared his lack of knowledge on where he
came from like sitting on a train without a seat ticket
not knowing where to sit. He says not knowing terrified
He admits his book is not fine
literature. Asked what he thinks will be the public's
reaction, he responds, "I have a favorite writer named
Walt Whitman so I'll quote him 'I witness and wait.'"
December 5, 2017
When Michael was in British Columbia
filming the fourth installment of "Mission Impossible",
he was interviewed by the
No need to translate this time! It's a lengthy interview
and much more revealing than the ones found on Swedish
web sites. The photos below show him arriving at
Vancouver Airport on December 2, 2010.
What's endearing about the man is
that he easily confesses his love for his wife and
family and expresses a deep humility despite his
"I love spending time with my wife,
and she is my best friend. She is the one I tell
everything to: my thoughts and ideas, everything that
goes through my mind. I am still amazed every morning
when I wake up and find her beside me. She is so perfect
and I sometimes wonder what she sees in me."
December 2, 2017
A new addition to the MNA is an
interview from the May 13, 2013 issue of Vision
Hoglandet at this
link. Michael tends to be rather philosophical
in interviews and this one is no different. Having just
published his second book, he focuses on how self-doubt
has plagued him since his childhood and how fame is very
* * * * *
In 2011 Michael made the cover of the
June issue of Scan magazine, an English-language
showcase for Scandinavian countries. You can read the
article by clicking on the third set of images below.
Journalist Signe Hansen writes, ""Dressed unassumingly
in a dark suit jacket and blue jeans, it is the actor's
charisma and renowned, intense gaze that catch your
attention." I'm sure of that! At the end of the article,
Michael makes this remark - "I would love to stand on a
stage when I am 102 years old playing a ghost - maybe
Hamlet's father." And Ms. Hansen adds, "Well, in case he
is still standing at 102, we would not mind a couple of
the front row seats - he is sure to make an unusually