Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård (Swedish pronunciation: [?sk????o??]; born August 25, 1976) is a Swedish actor. He is best known for his roles as vampire Eric Northman on the HBO series True Blood, a male model in Zoolander and Brad Colbert in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill.
Upon his return to Sweden, Skarsgård began picking up acting jobs, working in film, television and theatrical productions.  While on vacation in the United States, he auditioned for and landed the role of Meekus in the 2001 film Zoolander.  In 2003 his work in Hundtricket-the Movie (The Dog Trick) earned him a Guldbagge nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  He was also named the Sexiest Man in Sweden five times. 
He moved to Los Angeles in 2004 but also continued working in Sweden.  His break came when he was cast as Sergeant Brad "Iceman" Colbert in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries Generation Kill. An adaptation of journalist Evan Wright's book of the same name, Generation Kill follows the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corps during the early part of the Iraq War. The part of Brad Colbert was the closest to a "lead" in Generation Kill and director Susanna White and executive producer David Simon at first disagreed about casting Skarsgård. White wanted to cast him but Simon was not convinced he could pull off the American accent. After four auditions in three cities, Skarsgård learned the part was his just 36 hours before he had to board a plane for Namibia where the project was filming. The cast and crewed filmed for seven months in the desert, shooting six days a week. Skarsgård worked with a dialect coach to master the American accent. 
Skarsgård at the 2010 Tribeca Film FestivalJust before leaving to shoot Generation Kill, Skarsgård heard about True Blood, a new series HBO was developing based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris. At first he was unsure about playing a vampire, but when he learned that Alan Ball, creator of the HBO series Six Feet Under and Academy Award winning screenwriter of American Beauty, was behind the project, he sent in an audition tape. The audition was for the role of Bill Compton, which eventually went to Stephen Moyer. Skarsgård was later cast as Eric Northman, a 1000-year-old, Viking vampire sheriff, local bar owner, and potential love interest of heroine Sookie Stackhouse.   True Blood is in its fourth season.
In 2009 Skarsgård appeared in the music video for pop singer Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi". He was the voice of Stefan in the 2009 animated film Metropia, directed by Tarik Saleh.  In 2010 Skarsgård portrayed Terje, a gay Norwegian trekking to the North Pole, in the British mockumentary Beyond the Pole. 
Suit maker Hickey Freeman chose Skarsgård to model a new look it debuted in 2010. Annie Leibowitz photographed the ad campaign which appeared in magazines such as The Wall Street Journal Magazine, GQ and Details.   He covered the September 2010 issue of Rolling Stone with his True Blood co-stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer. 
Skarsgård has two films set to be released in 2011. Melancholia, an apocalyptic movie directed by Lars von Trier starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland, premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.   Skarsgård will appear in Straw Dogs, a remake of the 1971 film of the same name, as Charlie Venner. The remake's director, Rod Lurie, has transferred the setting from a rural English town to Mississippi, and he describes Skarsgård's character as "an ex-football star gone to seed". The film co-stars James Marsden and Kate Bosworth.  It is set to be released September 16, 2011.
Skarsgård will appear alongside Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna in Peter Berg's Battleship, an adaptation of the Hasbro game. It will be released in May 2012.