Swedish actors have been making waves in Hollywood for decades, and for good reason. From their striking good looks to their undeniable talent, Swedish actors have captured the hearts of audiences around the world. There are a lot of Swedish mega-stars from decades past, read up on Greta Garbo, Max Von Sydow and Ann-Margret for a few world-class examples. We’ll focus here on six Swedish actors who have burst onto the scene more recently, and have been entertaining us in their roles in current TV series and movies, with hopefully a lot more to come.
Alexander Skarsgård comes from a family of actors, including his father Stellan and three brothers who are stars in their own right. He gained widespread recognition for his lead role as an vampire, Eric Northman, in the hit HBO series True Blood. Skarsgård has also been in series such Big Little Lies and had the title role in The Legend of Tarzan. More recently he has had a recurring role in the last two seasons of mega-hit Succession, playing a brooding Swedish CEO of a major streaming service diversifying into the esport, online casino and betting space which makes his company a takeover target for the media empire run by Logan Roy. It’s an incredible series, dark but hilarious, and the acting is fabulous, and Skarsgård fits in well with the cast of powerful, ultra-rich misfits.
Noomi Rapace began her acting career at the age of just seven. She rose to international fame with her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and its two sequels. It was an incredible performance, and she received numerous nominations and awards for the lead role. Other notable performances include her roles in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Prometheus. She’s been cast in a number of recent films in the action thriller and horror genres and we’re betting she’ll be back in an another highly acclaimed role soon.
After a start in Swedish TV and films, Stockholm-born Joel Kinnaman made a name for himself in the American production of television series The Killing (based on a fabulous Danish series of the same name). From there Joel went on to deliver a slew of memorable performances in two Suicide Squad films, and popular TV series House of Cards, Hanna, Altered Carbon, and currently is the lead in the fascinating, and highly rated Apple TV+ series For All Mankind. He doesn’t like one to slow down (and spend his days sitting at home gaming or in an online casino) as he continues to be the most active actor in this list, and we look forward to seeing many more more captivating roles from Joel.
Born in Gothenburg in 1988, Alicia Vikander began her acting career in Swedish short films and television shows before bursting onto the global scene with her role in the science fiction film Ex Machina. She had a well-regarded role The Danish Girl and made a great Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider”. Vikander has won several awards for her work, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Alicia continues to focus on movie roles, but we’d love to see her show off her talents in a TV series, a format that allows for a deeper development of characters and plot. Fun fact: Alicia is married to another one of our favourite actors, German-Irish star Michael Fassbender, who she met on the set of The Light Between Oceans.
A native of Stockholm in 1983, Rebecca Ferguson began her acting career in Swedish soap operas. She took her English mother’s surname for her stage name. After a few Swedish films and TV appearances she gained a lots of fans, and a Golden Glove nomination for her role in The White Queen. That was followed by a starring role opposite Tom Cruise in three Mission Impossible films. She continues to land, and rock, major roles in films as diverse as the musical The Greatest Showman, The Girl on the Train, Men in Black: International, and Dune. She also returned to TV for a lead role in Apple TV + series, Silo.
Yes, another Skarsgård! Alexander’s younger brother, Gustaf Skarsgård, was one of the most memorable characters in the hit historical drama television series Vikings, playing Floki, the quirky best friend of Viking leader, Ragnar. Other notable performances include his roles in Evil and Westworld. More recently Gustaf had a main role in series Cursed playing the wizard Merlin, and was also part of the ensemble cast in Oppenheimer. Skarsgård has won several awards, including a Guldbagge Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Despite hailing from a relatively small country, Swedish actors have made a significant impact on the entertainment industry, as have their compatriots in the fields of music and sports (and in businesses as diverse as automobiles, furniture and online casino). From Naomi Rapace to Joel Kinnaman, these six actors have proven that talent knows no borders. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out their work and see for yourself why Swedish actors are so beloved by audiences around the world.