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Music

Alexander Skarsgård once starred in an iconic Lady Gaga music video

With the release of Robert Eggers’ upcoming historical bloodbath, The Northman, leading man Alexander Skarsgård has become one of Hollywood’s hottest stars. He looks unrecognisable as the burly protagonist, Amleth, the Icelandic prince seeking revenge on his treacherous uncle, and it’s fair to say that he’s come a long way over his career.

When I say that Skarsgård has come a long way, I mean a long way. Let’s cast our minds back to 2009. MySpace was still ubiquitous, Mark Zuckerberg was dominating the world with social media, and culture as a whole was very different.

That year, a new pop star was rising very quickly, making her name as one of the most exciting we’d seen since the days when Kate Bush and Madonna were at the top of the game. Of course, I’m talking about Lady Gaga, and the retrofuturism of her megahit ‘Paparazzi’ confirmed to fans that she wasn’t just a one-trick pony.

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The song came with a Jonus Åkerlund directed video, and even though it seems incredibly dated, apart from Lady Gaga’s unmistakable style, one thing stands out: Alexander Skarsgård. The actor plays Gaga’s boyfriend, who throws her off a balcony after a steamy scene. For any of those with a good memory, they’ll remember that the video then follows her quest for revenge, and in the end, she poisons him. 

Given that Lady Gaga was not the worldwide icon that she is today, at the time, Skarsgård had never heard of her. He was also making his first foray into the mainstream at this point in time and had only just started filming the hit series True Blood, in which his character was the aptly named Eric Northman, who was once a Viking.

Skarsgård elucidated on his experience with Lady Gage during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon when he revealed that he took some convincing to sign on to the project. “He (Åkerlund) called me and asked me if I wanted to play the boyfriend. I said, ‘Boyfriend?’ I didn’t know who the girl was, Lady Goo Goo, I think it was her first album, I’m not sure, but I didn’t know who she was, I said, ‘Well, what are we doing, like walking down the beach, holding hands?'”

He continued: “He’s like, ‘No, hear me out. You wear an eye patch, and you throw her off. The plot is you try to kill her. You throw her off a balcony of a beautiful mansion in Malibu. She doesn’t die. She comes back, and she poisons you.’ I said, ‘That’s a beautiful, beautiful story.'”

In a separate appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Skarsgård was asked what it felt like to throw the popstar off a balcony, to which he responded definitively, “Great”. During this interview, the Swedish actor also said that he kept the weird eyepatch that he wore as a keepsake. 

The ‘Paparazzi’ video is a surreal crossover of two of the biggest names of the contemporary era. When revisiting it in 2022, you’re transported back to the days of 2009 when everything seemed a little simpler, and given how dark the future looks, it’s a dose of nostalgia that is welcomed. What’s even more potent is just how far Alexander Skarsgård has come, as the world of ‘Paparazzi’ could not be further from the dark mythological world we get in The Northman

Watch the video for ‘Paparazzi’ below.

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