Starting his career in his native Sweden, actor Sverrir Gudnason worked extensively in the Scandinavian film industry (and picked up several awards) before becoming well known to mainstream audiences with his breakout role as Bjorn Borg in the 2017 tennis battle epic Borg vs McEnroe opposite Shia LaBoeuf. And it doesn’t stop there. Following the release of that film Gudnason was cast as journalist Mikael Blomquist in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a role previously held by Daniel Craig in 2009’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Opposite Claire Foy, who takes on the role of Lisbeth Salander, Gudnason’s character finds himself caught in a web of lies, deceit and corruption as he helps Salander battle for vengeance. Photographed by Rankin for The Cut series, we get to know Sweden’s best new export a little better.
What are your earliest memories of falling in love with film?
As a kid I was working in the city theatre of Stockholm and they sent me to the cinema to see Pelle the Conqueror by Bille August for inspiration. I remember thinking “hey, I wanna do that!”
You will next be starring in The Girl In The Spider’s Web – what was it that drew you to this role?
The books are very good with interesting characters. And of course being a part of bringing a Scandinavian story to an international audience together with such a great cast and crew was a huge draw for me.
This role is a challenging one, how do you shake a role and character once filming is finished?
Having a family at home makes it impossible to stay in character once filming is done, so I rarely have this problem. In fact, the best advice I’ve received through my career is to have a normal personal life and hold on to everything that keeps you grounded.
How have you witnessed the film industry change in your time as an actor? And what changes would you still like to see?
A definite sign of the times is Lisbeth Salander. When I was a kid the heroes in films were always men. But now we have more and more female heroes on the screen, which is fantastic.
Do you feel that film has a responsibility to mirror what is happening in society?
No, not really but it is always more interesting when it does.
Who is your cinematic icon?
The Girl in the Spiders Web is released in the UK on 21st November.