Introducing…Mikael Persbrandt

Who is he and why is he famous?

One of Sweden’s best loved actors, Persbrandt was last week named Sweden’s latest Unicef goodwill ambassador.

He has featured in many high-brow stage productions but is perhaps best known for his role as cynical cop Gunvald Larsson. His portrayal of this idealistic polyglot in bundles of Beck films has resulted in the dubious honour of a German Mikael Persbrandt fan club.


Well, they absolutely love a good cop movie in Germany. And when they’ve run out of those they turn to Beck. The people on the site actually write their own German-language fan fiction based on characters in Beck.

That’s genuinely frightening. Please move on. Why is he working with Unicef? Is he good with kids?

Allegedly, yes.

Isn’t David Beckham a goodwill ambassador for Unicef too?

He is indeed. All the best people are. Ricky Martin, for example. And Shakira, whose hips don’t lie.

Right. And will this Persbrandt character be comfortable around these superstar singers?

He certainly should be; he just had a child with Ulf Lundell’s daughter.

What, is that bloke famous or something?

Ulf Lundell! He’s only Sweden’s Bruce Springsteen.

OK, steady on, I was only asking. So if his father-in-law is Sweden’s Boss, who’s he?

Sweden’s Kenneth Branagh maybe. Like Britain’s Shakespeare buff he has also done a lot of fancy theatre work in his day. And like Branagh he also had a long-term relationship with his leading lady.

How intriguing! Who was Mikael’s Emma Thompson then?

Maria Bonnevie is her name.

And were they an attractive pair?

They weren’t half bad. He was voted Sweden’s sexiest man in 1999 by one of the tabloids. And she was the country’s second sexiest woman that same year, according to a Swedish lad mag.

And what about the mother of his child? Is she a good-looking woman?

Yes, actually Sanna Lundell bears an uncanny resemblance to his Emma Thompson. And another ex also fits the same mould. Allegedly.

That’s the second time you’ve said ‘allegedly’. It’s very annoying.

I know, but Persbrandt is a very litigious man. You can’t be too careful.

In what way is he litigious?

He has taken tabloid Expressen to court for libel. They wrote that he had a serious alcohol problem and had checked in to a detox clinic, which turned out to be false.

What, was none of it true?

I’m sorry, you’ll have to ask my lawyer.