Keeping it in the family is very much a Hollywood tradition at this point, and in the 21st century acting families are still thriving. Whether it be Cuba Gooding Jr.’s son Mason joining the cast of the last two Scream movies, Lily-Rose Depp leading The Idol, Maya Hawke becoming a fan favorite in Stranger Things, or Ethan Peck (grandson of Gregory) roaming the bridge of the Enterprise in Star Trek, there’s always a new generation of nepo babies lurching from crib to screen.
But one man is overwhelmingly leading the pack in terms of famous male offspring these days. A man who could conceivably consider the Kardashians his Warios. And that’s Stellan Skarsgård.
A Swedish gentleman well into his 70s with an effortlessly friendly demeanour and a soothingly craggy face, Skarsgård now has eight children, and it’s a solid bet that if you see the name Skarsgård in the credits of a movie or TV series, and it isn’t preceded by “Stellan”, it will turn out to be one of his kids instead.
If you’re struggling to separate your Bills from your Alexanders, fear not. Our handy guide will usher you through all the Skarsgård clan of note, so that you can confidently say “no, that was Gustaf actually” in a heated argument at a later date.
We begin with the head of the Skarsgård family, Stellan. Having married a doctor called My in the mid-70s, Stellan ended up making six babies with her. He later divorced My and married screenwriter Megan Everett, and they had two more sons together. With eight Skarsgård kids now roaming the Earth, Stellan finally decided enough was enough and promptly had a vasectomy, forcing Hollywood into the difficult position of sourcing its steady, fresh stream of Vikings and murderclowns elsewhere in the future.
Stellan has featured prominently in films like Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac from Danish director Lars von Trier, and also starred in a handful of Hans Petter Moland’s flicks, including Zero Kelvin, Aberdeen, In Order of Disappearance, and A Somewhat Gentle Man. Just as notable for that kind of indie fare as he is for bigger projects, he signed up for recurring roles in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises, while he was clearly game for a laugh when he climbed aboard the blockbuster musical Mamma Mia! and its sequel.
Stellan certainly shows no signs of slowing down and letting his children do all the work stateside. He’s rather casually starred in two of the best TV shows of the last five years, in fact: HBO’s award-winning Chernobyl and the critically acclaimed Star Wars spinoff Andor, in which he delivered a viral monologue that inspired even those with chronic Star Wars fatigue to mutter “hang on, maybe Star Wars is good now” against their better judgement.
Alexander Skarsgård is the eldest of Stellan’s sons, and he’s arguably still the most famous of them at the time of writing. Alex caught the acting bug when he was a child but for whatever reason quit and joined the military instead. Those Skarsgård genes were just too damn powerful, though. He returned to acting later, snagging a small role as dim model roommate Meekus in Zoolander and a much larger role in David Simon’s HBO miniseries Generation Kill.
His breakout role came along in 2008, when he was cast as bisexual Viking vampire Eric in True Blood. The show ran for seven seasons on HBO, and Alex had a frothing online following throughout its run. The transition to celluloid success remains a tough nut to crack. He did get big parts in the flop actioner Battleship and The Legend of Tarzan, but arguably his largest hit to date has been 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, and that was more about Godzilla and Kong than it was Alex. He’s wisely continued to embrace smaller and more celebrated films like The Northman and Hold the Dark when he isn’t working the small screen.
Indeed, Alex is still a big catch on TV, having made an impact as Nicole Kidman’s horrible husband Perry in Big Little Lies and as Lukas in Succession, while still taking leading roles in the likes of The Little Drummer Girl and a reimagining of Stephen King’s horror saga The Stand.
He recently confirmed the birth of his first child.
42-year-old Gustaf Skarsgård seems to have truly embraced the acting profession from a young age, landing his first part in a short film at nine, and attending the Swedish National Academy of Mime and Acting in Stockholm. He was soon scooping up awards for his performances, but his breakout role came along in 2013 when he landed a main part of Floki in Netflix’s hit streaming series, Vikings. Since then, he has appeared in both Westworld and Cursed, and you may have caught him most recently in the biopics Air and Oppenheimer, the latter of which saw him fill the shoes of notable theoretical physicist Hans Bethe.
Gustaf already has one child.
After Gustaf, Stellan had Sam, but he chose to be a doctor like his mom, so next came Bill, who has had the most success on the big screen of all the Skarsgård brothers. Though he appeared in the TV series Hemlock Grove, Clark, and Castle Rock, Bill largely works in film. He played Matthew in Allegiant and Merkel in Atomic Blonde before landing the major part of the terrifying Pennywise the Dancing Clown in 2017’s It and its sequel, It: Chapter Two.
The It movies were massive hits at the box office, and though Bill was unrecognizable out of his alien clown makeup, he was able to continue grabbing villainous roles in future flicks, performing the voice and motion capture for Kro in Marvel’s Eternals, and going toe-to-toe with John Wick as Marquis Vincent de Gramont in the fourth movie of the hit franchise. Such is Bill’s believability as a sweet-faced Swedish boy disguised as a wrongun, that when he popped up in the 2022 cult horror Barbarian as a man who accidentally double-booked a rental home with the movie’s heroine, the film successfully managed to utilize him as a red herring.
The darker side of film is currently unrelenting for Bill, who has already wrapped a new movie based on The Crow comic where he plays the lead character Eric Draven, and he is also starring as Count Orlok in a new version of Nosferatu written and directed by Robert Eggers, who made his last film The Northman with brother Alex.
Bill has one child.
Next in the Skarsgård line is Eija, Stellan’s only daughter, who has so far opted for an alternative career path, modeling and becoming the manager of “Vardagsrummet”, a Stockholm nightclub. Younger brother Valter followed the acting path, though, and has also mastered the art of posting on social media.
You may have already seen Valter on TV in Scandi series Black Lake, or more recently in the Swedish show, Beck. He’s also had notable parts in Jonas Åkerlund’s acclaimed Lords of Chaos, and in horror flicks Don’t Click and Funhouse.
Before you ask about the two youngest Skarsgård sons, yes, little Ossian and little Kolbjörn are acting, too. Kolbjörn played the younger version of Bill’s character in the 2022 Netflix series Clark, and Ossian appeared alongside Bill in the movie Burn All My Letters.
This family cannot, and will not, be stopped, and with eight Skarsgård children and three Skarsgård grandchildren already out in the world, Stellan definitely doesn’t need to worry about leaving an acting legacy outside the formidable body of his own work. They’re here, they’re blonde, and they’re really very busy.