Q&A What can bring TV frenemies together? In ‘Big Little Lies,’ all it took was Alexander Skarsgård’s villain
By Yvonne Villarreal
The befuddled tweets came chirping in: “Alexander
in ‘Big Little Lies’ is simultaneously gorgeous and completely repulsive” and “I have very complicated feelings about Alexander
now, thanks ‘Big Little Lies.’”
In the days and weeks after the premiere of HBO’s limited series about a group of women living in a wealthy Northern California community, Skarsgård’s role as Perry, the abusive husband to Nicole Kidman’s character, had viewers curbing their swoons. It was a reality
expected but didn’t fully contend with until about three months after the series premiered in February.
“I wasn’t in the country when it aired,” the 40-year-old actor said during a recent visit to The Times’ video studio. “I was very much in a bubble, working…. It wasn’t until I got back to the States about a week ago, and I landed and everyone at the airport was like, ‘Ooh, yeah, no, we don’t like you.… People look at me differently now.
“And I’ll probably never get another job,” he jokingly continued, “but that’s OK, we had a good time on it.”
How did you initially see Perry, and how did that evolve as you were making the episodes?
Alex: I thought it was just a fascinating piece. And that dynamic, between Celeste [Kidman] and Perry, was very disturbing, and very rich and interesting. And I felt like there’s a way of playing an abusive husband … to try to avoid the stereotypical abusive husband, and to kind of find someone who’s conflicted and tormented, and who’s really struggling with this. As opposed to just playing a two-dimensional bad guy.
How did you approach the role — getting to a comfortable space with Nicole and the children?
Alex: We spent time together, and also with the boys, our kids, just play dates. We would just hang out and get to know each other better and have fun. It was very important that the boys were comfortable and relaxed around us. I wanted Perry to have a great relationship with his kids. I wanted him to be a good dad. Again, just to make it a bit more interesting, and more difficult for Celeste, in a way — where she’s like, we have this strong connection, we love each other, he’s an amazing dad. But then there’s this darkness, and you know, it’s almost like a switch when he goes black.
How was it to do that first scene where we see this dark side?
Alex: He’s in control, and when he’s not, it’s kind of … he snaps. And it’s just that one split-second of grabbing her too hard, holding on to her. And it was important to get that, to feel that shift, and that it was shocking to the audience. It was important that it be kind of an explosion, even though he doesn’t hit her there. But it’s definitely way too physical, and too aggressive.
Would you say shooting these types of scenes is more intimate than doing a sex scene — in terms of vulnerability?
Alex: It’s an interesting way of working. Because stuff goes wrong. And that’s kind of interesting, because you discover things that you might not have, had it been too planned or too structured. We didn’t rehearse much. We just kind of got there and we jumped in. And it’s an interesting feeling, because after the first take you’re always like, ‘Oh, that was interesting. I didn’t expect that, or the scene to go in that direction.’ It didn’t necessarily work every time. Sometimes we felt like something happened, and we went somewhere, and then we were like, all right, well, maybe we should try it again and go in a different direction.
What was it like to be part of a project where women’s stories were at the forefront, and you’re the villain in this whole thing?
Alex: It was very refreshing to read it because it’s so well-written and it’s so female-driven, obviously. It’s about these very strong, very independent, very — some of them are crazy, but, like, it’s a great group — all those roles are so rich and so interesting, and it’s real. There’s definitely not enough material like that here in Hollywood.
Can we talk about the final episode with the school party — isn’t it supposed to be a trivia night? Where’s the trivia?
Alex: I think that was the plan, but then someone got murdered, so that kind of killed the vibe.
What was it like to film that moment where all the women come together to take you down?
Alex: It was brilliant and it was like animals, when one predator is being attacked by a smaller predator, but they gang up on him from everywhere. You see those nature documentaries where they’re everywhere, and one on one he can take them, but it’s just overwhelming. We wanted to be so primal and violent, and to kind of re-create that. [Perry’s] attacking someone, but then there’s someone on his back. Reese was literally hanging on my back, you know, like, pulling my hair, and someone else was punching my ribs. It was intense.
Sources: Article: LATimes.com (x), Photos: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
I’m wondering if Cam will be a regular there and only be available to do a 3 episode guest stint on Shameless…I’d love to see it go something like this.
First nine episodes: Ian is never mentioned or referred to-but luckily there’s also zero Mickey bashing. Sheila deletes her Twitter because all anyone ever asks her is if any part of Gallavich will be back.
Episode 10: Boring af run of the mill shenanigans for the first 48 minutes and then suddenly we’re transported from cold gray Chicago to a sweeping overhead shot of a nearly deserted beach with late afternoon sun and blue water. Waves are gently rolling in. Zoom in on two people making out in the shallow surf, the water just hitting their toes and calves as the camera slowly pans up their entangled naked bodies till finally we see Ian and Mickey kissing passionately.
“We are not banging on the beach again, Gallagher. It takes forever to get the sand out of my ass,” Mickey sort of grumbles as Ian’s hips start rolling more insistently.
“Okay, how ‘bout I blow you here and we bang at the hacienda?” Ian says, and, since there’s no poster to pan to, we finally get to see his red hair between Mickey’s glorious thick thighs. End of episode.
LA TImes.com: Q&A What can bring TV frenemies together? In ‘Big Little Lies,’ all it took was Alexander Skarsgard’s villain
June 22, 2017 6:00 a.m. Yvonne Villarreal
The befuddled tweets came chirping in: “Alexander Skarsgard in ‘Big Little Lies’ is simultaneously gorgeous and completely repulsive” and “I have very complicated feelings about Alexander Skarsgard now, thanks ‘Big Little Lies.’”
Aside from them having food names, Chowder and Tater are like adorable rays of sunshine who will fuck you up on the rink. Both of them really like Jack. More importantly, both are a long way from home.
Of course, Bitty would mother the fuck out of Tater. What the hell kind of question was that? He and Jack are the least subtle boyfriends ever in the history of secret relationships.
So say Jack talks about how Tater seems a bit down and maybe he’s feeling homesick? Bitty doesn’t even think twice about it. Because that sweet Russian ray of sunshine. He researches Russian dishes that could survive the trip to Providence and he sends Jack a care package for Tater (along with things for Jack himself).
A bunch of (but nowhere near all) times Bitty made fun of Jack on Twitter. He looks like such a jerk when you read these out of context lol.
Some of my favourites?
- “Why are you allowed to have a phone?”
- “Of course Jack is already awake and listening to something awful in his room.”
- “what is wrong with this boy?”
I need to post a combo of every time he makes fun of Jack’s photography. “DEAR GOD!!!!!!!” Lol
On a somewhat related note: I haven’t written a fanfic in probably a solid 12 years at least… I am currently in the process of two. I am “Check, Please!” fandom trash. The one I’m almost finished involves a French nickname for Bitty and is a pretty big fluffball lol. (Side note, it’s actually a term my dad used to call my mom all the time when they were young… She didn’t appreciate the translation lol)
shoot! Forgot to add this earlier. read the comic here: omgcheckplease.tumblr.com
I can just picture bitty w such a smug smile while tweeting this, he probably chirped shitty about it after they came out to them like “so what about jacks girlfriend huh shitty??? what happened to her?” and shittys just like “I HAVE RE-READ MY GENDER STUDIES BOOK 3 TIMES BITTY, I WROTE A 4000 WORD ESSAY OF ME EXPLAINING HETERONORMATIVITY. LET ME LIVE”