“I literally don’t have a home,” says Bill Skarsgård, when asked where he’s based. The 22-year-old Stockholm-born actor is currently holed up in Los Angeles taking meetings when we speak on the phone, but he’s poised to soon take up residence in the pop-culture firmament. Skarsgård is one of the stars of Hemlock Grove, the new Netflix drama series about a Pennsylvania town beset upon by vengeful, shadowy creatures. In the show, he plays the troubled son of a wealthy family who strikes up a friendship with a werewolf, based on their mutual appreciation of the dark side. “[My character is] like the prince of this town, and he’s self-destructive because he hates himself for it,” Skarsgård explains. “He struggles not to act on his urges.” Skarsgård is a scion himself, a member of the Swedish Skarsgård acting dynasty. His father is Stellan (Breaking the Waves , among many others) and his brother is Alexander (the prolifically nude vampire of HBO’s True Blood). Bill got his start at the age of 9, when Alexander suggested that he play his little brother in the Swedish thriller White Water Fury (2000), which led to steady and varied work. “I played a guy with Asperger’s syndrome; then I played this insecure 17-year-old in the ’70s, then a young man who came of age in the ’40s during WWII,” he says. “That’s how I want my career to progress—to be versatile is what I’m striving for.” Creatures of the night are, of course, very hot at the moment, but Skarsgård says Hemlock is a different beast. “My agent pitched it as a vampire-werewolf thing, and I said, ‘Oh, come on, I don’t want to do that.’ Then I got the script and couldn’t stop reading it.” The show is no True Blood. “It’s nasty and disturbing more than sexy,” he says of the series, which is directed by slasher king Eli Roth. “It’s about this town and these people. Saying that it’s about werewolves would be like calling The Walking Dead a zombie show.” Although Skarsgård doesn’t seek advice from his father—”I want my performances to be mine,” he says—he has been glad to have Alexander’s counsel about L.A. “He was worried about me coming here and thinking I’d get jobs. He said, ‘Don’t get your hopes up.’ Then I’m here for a month and a half and I got this amazing part, which is kind of ridiculous. I’m super-fucking-lucky,” he says. “Now I just have to get another job.” And maybe an apartment.
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