Kicking it with Nyqvist

Actor returns with Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Given the chance would Michael Nyqvist star as Stieg Larsson’s crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist in a fourth movie? A valid question as it’s not impossible that cinematically the bestselling Millennium Trilogy may yet become a tetralogy. After all Larsson himself had a fourth book in mind: In July a friend revealed that the author who died in 2004 had divulged plot details (including a setting of none other than Sachs Harbour in the Northwest Territories).

“That doesn’t excite me at all” says Nyqvist who plays Mikael Blomkvist for the third time in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest . “Stieg was a very serious guy and I think you have to show respect to that. You can’t just make another movie based on nothing but notes.”

The Swedish film adaptations of Larsson’s books which have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide were released in Europe last year. The first of the trilogy The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo opened in Canada last spring followed by summer’s The Girl Who Played With Fire.

“When I was offered the role everyone had read the books but me” Nyqvist recalls. “Yet even just hearing them described in detail got me excited.”

And for Nyqvist his first impression of Blomkvist — who in the first film braves a prison sentence in his pursuit of truth — felt familiar in more than one way.

“He reminded me of guys I’d grown up with in the ’70s” Nyqvist says. “Leftist intellectuals who wanted to change society. But there’s also a lot of Stieg Larsson in the character; not just what he wanted to be but who he actually was. He wasn’t well known but he had a mission: He wanted to practise serious journalism and use it to remedy things like injustice corruption and prejudice.”

In the films Blomkvist fights for justice on behalf of titular Lisbeth Salander a punk-goth computer hacker whose history of mistreatment at the hands of Sweden’s legal system underlies the entire trilogy.

Nyqvist agrees with his character’s actions (“It’s important for journalists to show the powerful how to behave” he says). But the issue of journalistic ethics is a prevalent theme in the series: Take Blomkvist’s blackmailing of a man who used to traffic child prostitutes for instance. Or the fact that he’d concealed from his colleagues a series of death threats against them.

“I love that” Nyqvist laughs. “Blomkvist plays hardball and doesn’t back down.”

When the goal is right yes such methods can be justified.

Even as legal wrangling continues between Larsson’s family and former partner over rights to the fourth novel audiences will still see more Millennium onscreen in the near future. A Hollywood remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo directed by David Fincher ( The Social Network ) is slated for 2011. But remakes and potentially unauthorized sequels aside Nyqvist has his own fond memories of the author if however brief.

“I actually met him once when I was starring in a play” he says. “It’s amazing for me to think of that — even if it was only for a few minutes.”