Interview with Johnny O'kej - 1995
Tell me about your childhood.
alright. I look at it as very happy. I had intelligent, tolerant and
very modern parents when it came to ideas on how to raise a child.
A kid's opinion mattered just as much as an adult's.
Have you ever had an idol?
when I was little. I wonder if it wasn’t Leslie Howard. I saw him in
The Scarlet Pimpernel when we got a TV. That movie was probably 30
years old even then, but I loved that sort of hero! I didn’t mind seeing
matinees with Johnny Weismüller as Tarzan either.
Was this when you were in school?
Stellan: Yeah, in the first grade. I remember that seeing a matinee cost
you one crown a ticket in Uppsala.
You lived there?
I moved around a lot. I was born in Gothenburg. We moved to Småland,
then to Kalmar, off to Marielund in Uppland out in the country. After
that we moved to Uppsala, and then over to Klagshamn in Skåne, then to
Malmö, and then over to Helsingborg. Then I left home!
Ah, were you a circus family or travellers?
my dad always wanted a better job. Every time he got one, we first lived
out in the country and then we got an apartment in the city. And when we
were ready to move to another building, he got a job in another city –
and on it went, ha, ha!
The big city and the country – what kind of person does that turn you
I’m actually a real city person. I’m not fit for the country. I don’t
even have winter clothes! I wore this coat in S/Y Glädjen. By the
way, I just made a Norwegian movie that takes place in Greenland in the
1920’s. We shot it further north, close to the North Pole. When I got to
the airport in Oslo, I saw the whole crew in Fjällräven-gear, backpacks
and amazing custom-made boots. Yeah, all dressed up for the wildlife.
And I’m standing there in my bright linen suit! I didn’t even have an
outer coat!!! They looked at me and thought ”This one is going to be
trouble!” Ha, ha!
situations like that, it's good to be a professional actor. You know,
stay relaxed. Be COOL at the right time. Did your skills require a lot
of education? How did you begin?
first play was about children waiting for spring. I did my important
part – and played a lump of snow! That is, I was lying on the stage with
a sheet over me. Then spring came, and I could crawl out! When I was
small, I did some ABF-theatre, and played at Stadsteatern, so I’ve done
all that. But I never thought it would be my occupation. At first I
wanted to be a dentist, and then a diplomat. I did a lot of things
before I made up my mind. After Bombi Bitt when I was 16, I
worked at the Helsingborg Stadsteater, and then the Malmö Stadsteater
and thought “Yeah, what the hell – I might as well keep going!”. I never
made up my mind on what I wanted to be! It just went on – a typical
Skarsgård planning. Ha, ha!
know what you mean... So, how were you in school?
mostly liked school, and did well.
Where you bullied in school?
was hard going to a new school. Plus, I was small and weak. I never
fought. I never liked it – and had other interests, but if someone was
beating me up, I could tell the bully I was small and weak. I could say
"isn’t it better to go after someone your own size?” To the crowd that
appeared during fights, you could say "Don’t you think he’s a coward –
hitting someone so small and weak?” So, they could attack me physically,
but never touch my self-confidence – which is most important and
relevant. If you’ve got that intact, and your dignity, you can take a
couple of punches.
you remember your first kiss?
don’t know. But I do remember the first time a girl opened her mouth
when I kissed her. It was during Truth Or Dare, or something like that.
I probably wasn’t that old, but I remember our teeth KNOCKING together.
It went ”CLANK”! I didn’t know why she did that. I was not impressed by
it. I was probably too small at that time.
Puberty was hell. I developed late. When I was fifteen, I didn’t have
any hair on my d--k at all! And I was shorter than the others, had a
squeaky voice, and I didn’t understand why the girls liked the other
guys – and wanted to discuss their love lives with me when I was in love
with them! I thought that sucked because I always liked girls. You could
get teased for that in school. You’d be called a “womanizer”. But I
didn’t give a shit about what those idiots thought! I had girls as
friends, and had a whole lot more fun than they had! But when I wanted
to sleep with them, I had nobody…but that was probably pretty early too!
I know I had strong sexual fantasies even when I was eight years old!
And when did fantasy become reality?
don’t quite remember... but it was, of course, awkward. Are you that
interested in my sex life?
You’ve done it a couple of times now? I meant, you’ve got children
and all that.
well, five. First of all, one bunch – the oldest is eighteen. And then
there is a second bunch – two small ones that I’m trying to be with more
than when the others were young. This marriage is the longest
relationship I’ve ever had. My and I have been together for about 20
years! Before that, I was bad at staying with one person. It was mostly
rolling around, so to speak. You met the same girl a couple of times,
but never looked at it as a relationship.
Ok, say no more…a party dude! After all of your horrible partying, do
you remember the first time you got drunk?
mean black outs? Nah, not more than… Well, I forget things when I’m
sober, so you can’t tell them apart really, ha ha. The first time I got
drunk, I was fifteen and abroad. We were in Las Palmas, and were
supposed to ship bananas. We got to some bar that the crew recommended.
They ordered Des Cuba Libre and eggnog because my dad had let me taste
that, and something else…yeah, banana liquor! It was f--king disgusting.
I threw up all night! It took a long time before I drank again.
Ugh, yeah. Afraid of cats?
always had a dog. Cats to me are as boring as hamsters!
YES! What are your favorite types of cheese?
real parmesan. Regano parmesan is so good.
by Robin Solsjö Höglund
with our sincere thanks.]
Note: This was one
wacky interview with Johnny O'kej and had to be edited down for clarity.