1960 - 2017


Born in 1960 in Stockholm, Michael Nyqvist has proved himself to be one of the most important Swedish actors of his generation. Equally adept at plunging the lower depths of the human soul as delivering heartfelt portrayals of sweet-natured characters, he has moved between on the one hand his work as part of the ensemble at the Royal Dramatic Theatre and, on the other, the countless roles he made for film and television. He is also the author of two autobiographical novels.

As a consequence of his versatility as an actor, Nyqvist had the ability to reach out to people of the most diverse backgrounds. While critically lauded for his theatrical work with Lars Norén and dramatic roles in films such as »Together« and »A Serious Game«, he was also an actor that touched the hearts of the large audience like few others. With the performances in »The Guy in the Grave Next Door« and »As It is In Heaven«, Nyqvist portrayed the ordinary man of the countryside with a sense of both authenticity that resonated with people from all over Sweden.

With his iconic portrayal of Michael Blomkvist in the Swedish adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling Millenium trilogy, Nyqvist attracted serious attention from international film producers. This propelled his career toward roles in increasingly bigger productions, and no one knows where he could have ended up had his career not ended so abruptly. Yet, even with only a handful of international titles, Nyqvist managed to make a lasting impression. Who could, for example, forget his unexpected but brilliant appearance as the Swedish-Russian atomic threat Kurt Hendricks, Tom Cruise’s main antagonist in »Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol«?

Interestingly enough, Nyqvist made two films dealing with the history Chile. Starring alongside Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl, Nyqvist skillfully captured the chilling callousness of Paul Schafer and his rightwing, pseudo-religious cult during the years of the Pinochet regime in »Colonia«. A contrast was his heartfelt and gripping portrayal of Harald Edelstam in »The Black Pimpernel«, where Nyqvist celebrated the Swedish ambassador and human rights activist who protected hundreds of oppositional Chileans during Pinochet’s coup.

Despite these forays to the international world of film, however, Nyqvist was first and foremost an influential voice and presence in Swedish film, television and theatre. His memorable performance as Markel in »A Serious Game«, Pernilla August’s adaptation of Hjalmar Söderberg’s classic novel, was one of his last. It earned him a Guldbagge Award and provide a fitting, albeit much too early, legacy of his considerable acting talents. In a handful of scenes, Nyqvist manages to perfectly nail the world-weary yet humanistic outlook of the editor-in-chief who has met countless disappointments but holds on to his belief in the power of journalism.

Even though the career of Michael Nyqvist came to a premature end, we have yet to see his very last performances. Starring in several forthcoming films, including »Radegund« by the legendary director Terrence Malick, there are still a few more titles to be added to his long list of achievements, no doubt enhancing his growing legacy as one of the greatest Swedish actors of his generation.

Johannes Hagman


The Stockholm Film Festival honors Nyqvist’s memory on November 12, 15:00 with a special program including Peter Schønau Fog’s »You Disappear«, Ulf Rollof's »We« and a silent minute.