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30+ Facts About the Most Popular Movie Clan You Probably Didn’t Even Know Was a Family

What do the clown Pennywise, Floki, Tarzan, and Bootstrap Bill have in common? The actors that played these roles are members of the same family. There are more Skarsgårds that you think. The father Stellan has 7 sons and one daughter, 4 of whom are actors.

Bright Side decided to tell you about this famous Swedish family and collected some curious facts about the Skarsgårds.

  • Stellan’s father, Jan Skarsgård, made this last name up. In the ’40s, in Sweden, there were a lot of identical last names: too many Nilssons, Johnsons, Johanssens, so the government encouraged people to make new last names. Jan had the idea to create Skarsgård.
  • Everyone in the family is very tall. The average height of the Skarsgård brothers is over 6 ft.
  • All the brothers got their first movie roles before they were 10 years old.
  • The atmosphere in the house was very liberal when the brothers were growing up. There were constant dinner parties and plenty of people coming in and out all the time. The doors were always open.

Father — Stellan Skarsgård

  • The father of the most famous movie clan in Sweden has had parts in more than 140 roles in movies and TV shows, but the viewers know him best for his role as Bootstrap Bill in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Dr. Erik Selvig in the Avengers franchise and Bill Anderson in Mamma Mia!
  • Most of the roles that Skarsgård played were on Swedish television. More specifically, he became famous for his role in a children’s TV series where he played Bombi Bitt — a character that may remind you of Tom Sawyer.
  • He admitted that he had never tried to make his children do anything and that he never insisted on them becoming actors, “I have never had ambitions for them, other than that they should be decent people, and I have tried to show them that having a full life is not a selfish pursuit, but one that makes you of more value to your friends and family.”
  • Actors Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly named their son Stellan after Stellan Skarsgård.
  • Stellan is convinced that we can’t lie to children. “I have this thing where I never lie to my kids, never, which can create some conflict. One of my kids came home as a 3-year-old and he said in a big voice, ’I can’t handle it that all the kids in the day nursery say that Santa Claus exists. Why do their parents lie to them?’” Stellan told his son that he just had to live with that. That’s the way the world works.
  • The actor has only one daughter Eija. She used to work as a model, and now she is a casting assistant. When Eija was 2.5 years old, she had a fight with her brother and asked her dad to write a reminder that girls are always right. He wrote it down and put the piece of paper on the wall in the kitchen. It is still there. In the photo below, she is with her little brother who we will tell you about later.
  • Stellan has a special way of raising children. He is convinced that all children, past the age of 16, have to make all their decisions by themselves, and their parents’ task is to let them do it. If they don’t, they will either live with their parents all their lives or blame them for ruining their lives.
  • Stellan’s third son Sam got a small role when he was a child but he didn’t continue in this line of work. He is the only man in the family that decided to do what his mother does (Stellan’s first wife) and he became a doctor.
  • In his second marriage, Stellan had 2 more sons — Ossian (10 years old) and Kolbjörn (7 years old). Maybe they will become actors in the future.

Alexander Skarsgård

  • The oldest son in the family started his acting career at the very early age of 7, but he became world-famous thanks to his role as Eric Northman in True Blood. And you may also remember him from The Legend of Tarzan, Melancholia by Lars von Trier, and as a family tyrant in Big Little Lies.
  • Alexander Skarsgård won the title of the most attractive man in Sweden 5 years in a row.
  • In 2013, Alexander took part in an expedition to the South Pole together with Prince Harry.
  • You can see Alexander in Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi video.
  • His tattoo (a bird on his leg) was designed by his brother Valter with a marker. He was 7 years old at the time. Alexander took a picture of the photo and got a real tattoo. He showed it to his little brother to surprise him and make him happy, but he just laughed and asked him, “Why did you do that?”
  • His fans call him ASkars.
  • The actor is an active sports fan and supporter of the Hammarby team. There was an awkward moment in Stockholm when he was in the stadium during a soccer match and he couldn’t contain his emotions. Alexander was screaming, waving his hands, and inviting fans to support the team. The video was watched more than half a million times, it went viral, and he had to react somehow. Alexander’s agent called the Warner Bros. managers and asked them to try and find someone wilder than this guy for the role of Tarzan. The incident ended with the actor actually getting the role of Tarzan.
  • Alexander admitted that he has imposter syndrome sometimes. “I felt like that on Tarzan. I was on set thinking: ‘When is the director going to come over and say: Dude, you can go home. We’ve got Tarzan here now.’”

Gustaf Skarsgård

  • Stellan’s second son played our favorite and crazy person, Floki, in Vikings.
  • He admits that he didn’t expect to become anything special as an actor, he only planned to do plays in the theater in the Stockholm suburbs.
  • His dream character is Hamlet and he managed to play him in the theater. “I know it’s such a cliché, but if you ask me, it’s the most complex, paradoxical human character ever written.”
  • He said that his brothers and he sometimes check to see who has a higher rating on the IMDb.

Bill Skarsgård

  • At the age of 31, Bill has already become the star of many films and TV series and has played the scariest clown in the world — the one from It.
  • His first role was at 9 in White Water Fury. One of the main roles in the film was played by his brother Alexander. But back when he was a teenager, Bill changed his mind about becoming an actor because he didn’t want to be the 4th actor whose last name was Skarsgård. In high school, he focused on science and he thought about becoming a doctor. But movie fans got lucky: Bill changed his mind and ended up on the big screen.
  • In order to play Pennywise, Bill studied the behaviors of wild animals and watched documentaries. “As I was preparing the character, I was like, ’Oh, I guess he’s a little bit hyena and a little bit grizzly bear,’” he said.
  • He adopted the run of the clown from his little brother Ossian. “He’s 10 now, but when he was 4 or 5, he had a really funny way of running. You ever see kids do this? It’s the funniest thing ever.” Funny, sure, but when done by someone that is the actor’s height, it is slightly bewildering and creepy. “If you look at Pennywise,” he says, “Pennywise does this.”
  • The famous actor doesn’t have a home or a car. He lives out of a suitcase and he has been traveling all his life. Also, following the Skarsgård family tradition, he regularly organizes big parties.
  • It is Bill Skarsgård’s first work based on a Stephen King novel, but not the only one. He plays one of the key roles in Castle Rock.
  • According to Bill, he and the children that took part in the horror film It spent most of the time before the shooting process apart in order to maintain the necessary tension to make the reaction to the scary clown as realistic as possible. Even though the young actors had seen Skarsgård while reading the script, their horror was still very real — and these takes were included in the final film.
  • Bill is slightly cross-eyed. He thought it would be great to use it in the film, so during the entire film, Pennywise’s eyes look in different directions. More than that, the actor can actually smile like Pennywise. It wasn’t CGI and it really is creepy and believable.
  • According to the actor, during the shooting of It, he often used video calls to talk to his relatives. He even regularly talked to his daughter without removing the costume or washing off the makeup.
  • Bill has a daughter who was born in 2018.

Bonus: This is Stellan’s 5th son Valter Skarsgård

This young man is more well-known in his home country. You can see him in the adventure film Arn — The Kingdom at Road’s End, where Valter worked together with his brothers Gustaf and Bill, and their father Stellan.

Who of the brothers have you seen on the screen?

Please note: This article was updated in April 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
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