“I’m actually wearing it right now,” teases Skarsgård, joking about the brouhaha regarding this Tarzan’s more civilized article of clothing as he portrays the jungle warrior in Warner Bros.’ new take on a classic tale. “I do all my phoners in a loincloth.”
The 39-year-old True Blood alum beams throughout our revealing conversation with contributor Chris Azzopardi, which leads to all sorts of places: being poisoned by Lady Gaga, how other straight men should approach a gay sex scene (“dive in”), and why, after giving us his best Farrah Fawcett impersonation last year, shooting Tarzan “was nothing compared to that night in drag.”
— Chris Azzopardi
They do. Is that surprising to hear? Well, I don’t know. … Thank you. That’s very flattering to hear. It’s always been the most natural thing to me because my uncle and godfather is a gay man and so growing up, even as a little toddler, it was just as natural as being straight. My aunt would show up with her husband and my uncle would show up with his husband. He was, by far, out of my father’s four siblings [Alexander’s father is actor Stellan Skarsgård], the most fashionable and the most trendy, cool guy. So, when I was a kid, he was the one I looked up to. I thought he was really badass: fit and awesome and cool, and obviously not because he was gay. When I became a teenager and the kids made fun of other teenagers who were gay, I never really understood that. It just baffled me because my idol, my godfather, was gay, and he was the coolest guy I knew. I just couldn’t understand how that could be an insult.
That kind of personal relationship can change everything for somebody. I agree. And I think a lot of the xenophobia and fear comes from that, from not having a personal connection. People that know someone close that they love who is homosexual or bisexual are more likely to sympathize with people in the LGBT community.
The Legend of Tarzan is, in part, about making your own family. How might that resonate with the LGBT community? In a way, he’s lost between two worlds, he doesn’t fit in. He’s adopted by these apes, and even though emotionally he’s an equal and he’s loved, he can feel that he’s different. Then he goes to London and it’s kind of the same. He looks like people around him, but he also doesn’t fit in there either. That sense of being an outsider and trying to fit in or finding your home and your place in the world – it’s interesting to explore that. He’s a character who, on the surface, has it all – this gorgeous, wonderful wife; incredible wealth; beautiful mansion – but people don’t understand him, really, and his heart is still in the jungle.
Have you ever felt like an outsider? I can relate to the feeling of being somewhere between two worlds. I was born and raised in Stockholm, but I’ve lived in the States for 12 years. In a way, I feel at home when I go to Stockholm, but it hasn’t been my permanent home for 12 years. So, there are a lot of things that make me feel like an outsider: cultural references, the music scene, the arts scene, theater, what’s going on back home in movies; other references make me feel out of touch too.