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Eight hot Swedish Hollywood acts you need to know about
Rebecca Ferguson, Alexander Skarsgård and Alicia Vikander. Photo: Ronald Zak/Jordan Strauss/Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Eight hot Swedish Hollywood acts you need to know about

Emma Löfgren · 2 Mar 2016, 06:59

Published: 02 Mar 2016 06:59 GMT+01:00

1. Joel Kinnaman

Born: Stockholm, 1979

Kinnaman shot to fame at home and away when he starred in 2010 Swedish thriller and international hit 'Easy Money' ('Snabba Cash' in Swedish). He then played the lead role in RoboCop and you will next see him as superhero Rick Flag in 'Suicide Squad' this year. He is also joining the line-up in US political drama 'House of Cards', to be released by Netflix on Friday.

Kinnaman's dad was born in the US but deserted the military from his Bangkok stationing during the Vietnam War and moved to Sweden. Young Kinnaman spent a year in Texas as a high school exchange student, and admits that he has inherited his father's hot temper.


Joel Kinnaman, whose mother is Jewish. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

2. Noomi Rapace

Born: Hudiksvall, 1979

You might know this story. She played goth-hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Nordic Noir 'Millennium' trilogy, it became a massive global cult hit and the doors of Hollywood opened wide for Rapace. She has since starred in blockbusters such as 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' and 'Prometheus'. Next up: Amy Winehouse in a biopic about the troubled star and opposite fellow Swede Peter Stormare in sci-fi thriller 'Rupture'.

Her original surname is Norén. She and her actor ex-husband Ola (Norell) Rapace chose the new name, which means 'bird of prey' in French and Italian, when they married. Because we know you're wondering: it's pronounced /ra'pas/. She moved to London in 2010.


Noomi Rapace also speaks fluent Icelandic. Photo: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

3. Rebecca Ferguson

Born: Stockholm, 1983

Swedish-British actress Ferguson has kept a relatively low profile, despite gaining star status last year as action heroine Ilsa Faust opposite Tom Cruise in 'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation'. It has been confirmed she will be reprising the role in the next instalment.

She lives in southern Sweden where she, alongside her acting career, teaches tango and runs a dance studio. The Swedish actress is reportedly related (albeit not closely enough to get invited to family reunions) to the UK's Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.


Rebecca Ferguson at the premiere of Mission: Impossible. Photo: AP Photo/Ronald Zak

4. Malin Åkerman

Born: Stockholm, 1978

It is up for debate how much credit Sweden can claim for this blonde actress. When she was two years old she and her parents moved to Canada, where she grew up. She speaks fluent Swedish, but has said in interviews that she "thinks in English" and has to translate.

Åkerman has mostly worked within the Canadian and US movie industries and has starred in a long range of productions including not-so-successful comedies 'Couples Retreat' and 'Wanderlust' and more recently, American TV financial hedge fund drama series 'Billions'. However we expect bigger and better things from this star in future.


Malin Åkerman at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

5. Alexander Skarsgård

Born: Vällingby, 1976

It's impossible to make a list about Swedish actors and not mention the eldest of Swedish acting legend Stellan Skarsgård's many children: Alexander. Tall, blonde and looking very stereotypically Scandinavian, he used to be known in Sweden for playing the male bimbo roles. However, he catapulted to fame after landing a role in US military mini series 'Generation Kill' about the 2003 invasion of Iraq – and truly cemented his Hollywood stardom in vampire hit series 'True Blood' as the aptly named Viking vampire Eric Northman.

The Swede is next set to appear in 'The Legend of Tarzan'. And while The Local remains neutral in the name of journalistic integrity, we suspect his shirtless promo pictures will have audiences swinging (through the jungle) all the way to the cinema.


Alexander Skarsgård. Photo: John Shearer/Invision for Millennium Entertainment/AP Images

6. Alicia Vikander

Born: Gothenburg, 1988

Recent-Oscar winner for transgender movie 'The Danish Girl', Vikander's international breakthrough came suddenly, but decisively, after she appeared in a handful of major movies in 2015, including acclaimed British sci-fi psychological thriller 'Ex Machina'.

Vikander knows better than anyone that good things come to those who wait. Her childhood ballerina dreams were cut short due to injuries, and she has revealed she was not even rejected, but totally ignored, by international casting directors many, many times before she took matters into her own hands and looked them up in person in London. It paid off, and she is set to appear opposite Matt Damon in the very hyped next instalment of the Jason Bourne action series.


Alicia Vikander with her 2016 Academy Award. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Story continues below…

7. Bill Skarsgård

Born: Stockholm, 1990

Just when you thought Sweden had run out of Skarsgårds to send to Hollywood, young Bill takes up the mantle after his dad Stellan (known from big blockbusters in the style of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' as well as acclaimed independent movies and TV series such as British crime drama 'The River') and brothers Alexander (see above) and Gustaf (from History Channel series 'Vikings').

Bill Skarsgård has already enjoyed a very small part in 'Anna Karenina' and in Netflix horror series 'Hemlock Grove', but has not yet scored his major international break. However, he is definitely someone to keep your eyes on in the years ahead. He is starring in the upcoming next instalment of 'The Divergent Series: Allegiant'.


Bill Skarsgård, brother of Alexander. Photo: Leif R Jansson/SCANPIX

8. Julia Ragnarsson

Born: Malmö, 1992

If you're a fan of Nordic Noir, you probably recognize Ragnarsson's face. She starred as one of the characters in the second series of crime drama 'The Bridge' and is predicted to be the next Swede to make the move across the pond to Hollywood. As for the rest of you, you've probably never heard of her... yet, although she has been in a slew of Swedish and British films since graduating from theatre school in 2011.

Ragnarsson was honoured as 'Rising Star' at the Stockholm Film Festival in 2014. Currently featuring in another Swedish crime series, 'Springfloden', which will be broadcast by Swedish Television this spring, she is also keeping herself busy working with an agent, who is trying to set up casting meetings in the US. But she stays humble and recently told Swedish newspaper DN: "It's not like I'm walking around calling myself an actor." The Local reckons it's maybe about time she started.


Sweden's next Hollywood star? Julia Ragnarsson. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

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Emma Löfgren (emma.lofgren@thelocal.com)

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