Malin Åkerman


Malin Åkerman
Malin Åkerman

Åkerman at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International
Born Malin Maria Åkerman
May 12, 1978 (1978-05-12) (age 33)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation Actress, model, singer
Years active 1997–present
Spouse Roberto Zincone (2007–present)

Malin Maria Åkerman (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈmɑːlɪn ˈoːkərˌman]; May 12, 1978) is a Swedish–Canadian actress and model. She was born in Stockholm, Sweden and moved to Canada at the age of two. As a child, she appeared in several television commercials before going on to win a modelling contract at age sixteen. Åkerman's acting career began with her debut on the Canadian television series Earth: Final Conflict in 1997, after which she made appearances on several other Canadian productions. In the early 2000s, she had many television and film parts, including The Utopian Society (2003) and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004). Following a supporting role on the short-lived comedy series The Comeback (2005), Åkerman gained her first starring role in the film The Heartbreak Kid (2007).

Åkerman got her big break in 2009, when cast as Silk Spectre II in the superhero film Watchmen, a role for which she was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. The same year, Åkerman had supporting and starring roles in both The Proposal and Couples Retreat, two commercial hits that garnered mixed to negative reviews. In 2010, she became part of the main cast on the comedy series Childrens Hospital. Apart from acting and occasional modelling, Åkerman has served as the lead singer for the alternative rock band The Petalstones, but eventually left to focus on her acting career. She has been married to the band's drummer, Roberto Zincone, since 2007. The couple resides in Los Angeles, California.

Contents

Early life

Åkerman was born in Stockholm, Sweden to aerobics teacher and part-time model Pia (née Sundström) and insurance broker Magnus Åkerman.[1][2] When she was two, the family moved to Canada when her father was offered a job.[2] Four years later, her parents divorced, with her father moving back to Sweden.[3] Both of her parents remarried, giving Åkerman one half-brother and two half-sisters.[3] After her mother remarried, they moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.[4] Later in her teenage years, her mother divorced again.[2] Åkerman attended many different schools,[5] including Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in St. Catharines, Ontario.[6] She once attended a Catholic school, although being raised a Buddhist.[5] She has recalled some portions of her childhood as "painful", explaining that "I loved my father very much and I only got to see him during the school holidays. But I think it was an advantage that they split up when I was very young, so I could get used to it."[3] She visited her father in Falsterbo, Sweden during school breaks and talked to him regularly over the phone.[7][8] She cites her parents as "supportive, positive influences" in her life.[8]

As a child, Åkerman had no plans to become an actress.[3] Her mother introduced her to modelling while she was still in primary school and she later landed several advertising campaign deals, but decided to stop at age twelve.[3] However, four years later she returned to modelling after her discovery by Ford Models in a shopping mall in St. Catharines.[3][8] She was signed to the agency and later won a contract with skincare company Noxzema.[8] She soon moved into an apartment in Toronto while attending North Toronto Collegiate Institute.[8] At age eighteen, she decided to become a child psychologist.[3] The decision was inspired by the "helplessness" she sometimes felt during her childhood.[4] She did modelling to afford her education, including a few commercials and catalogue work.[9] She studied for a year at York University in Toronto, but was simultaneously offered television and film roles and decided to drop out of school to become an actress. She moved to Los Angeles, California in 2001 to pursue her acting career full time.[1]

Career

1997–2008

Åkerman at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, September 2008

Åkerman made her acting debut on the Canadian science fiction series Earth: Final Conflict in 1997, having a cameo appearance as a robot.[10] She originally landed a role on an MTV pilot with Rachel McAdams, but the project was never picked up by the network.[9] In 2000, she guest starred on Relic Hunter and had a smaller role in the Canadian film The Skulls.[6] The following year, she made appearances on the Canada-based series Doc and Twice in a Lifetime.[11] In 2001, she moved to Los Angeles, California in hopes of pursuing a broader acting career.[4] She worked as a waitress,[7] and was broke at one point; she had to sleep at a friend's couch and returned the favour by cleaning the house.[4]

In 2003, she received smaller role in the film The Utopian Society.[6] The film was edited by Francesco Sondelli, who was the guitarist for alternative rock band Ozono.[11] Sondelli asked her to help the band out with song lyrics and later asked her to sing.[9] Åkerman subsequently became the band's singer, and they changed their name to The Petalstones.[1][9] The band released the single "Poison" which also received a music video.[5] The band's debut album, Stung, was released on August 17, 2005.[12] Åkerman eventually left to focus on her acting career, and admits that she "actually can't sing".[3] In 2004, she got a small role in the film Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,[6] but considered moving back to Canada as most of her auditions failed.[4] She was then cast in a supporting role as Juna on the short-lived HBO television series The Comeback, starring Lisa Kudrow.[6] Åkerman's appearance on the show garnered media attention and resulted in her being offered more roles.[4] A year later, she guest starred on an episode of Love Monkey and two episodes of Entourage.[11] Shortly after the Entourage episodes aired, she landed a role in Bob Odenkirk's comedy film The Brothers Solomon, released in 2007.[13]

In 2006, Åkerman signed up for a role opposite Ben Stiller in The Heartbreak Kid, directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly.[13] She played in the lead female as Lila, the wife of Stiller's character.[14] The film is a remake of the 1972 film of the same name. As the original film was considered a "classic", the directors had doubts about making the film, but decided to go with the project when a script had been written.[14] Released in October 2007, the film received generally negative reviews as critics deemed it to be "neither as daring nor as funny as the Farrelly Brothers' earlier films."[15] Åkerman's performance garnered more positive reviews; Desson Thomson of The Washington Post called her a "fabulous comic partner" to Stiller,[16] while Roger Moore of Times Herald-Record felt that she outperformed him.[17] The film grossed $14 million in its opening weekend in the United States, and went on to gross $127 million globally.[18] In April 2007, it was reported that Åkerman had joined the cast of 27 Dresses, a romantic comedy film directed by Anne Fletcher with Katherine Heigl in the lead role.[19] The film was shot during the summer of 2007,[20] and released in January 2008 to mixed to negative reviews, with critics calling it "clichéd and mostly forgettable".[21] Åkerman played the title role in Bye Bye Sally, a short film directed by Paul Leyden and based on Lisa Mannetti's short story Everybody Wins.[22] The film premiered at the 2009 Newport Beach Film Festival.[22]

2009–2010

Development of Zack Snyder's superhero film Watchmen, an adaption of Alan Moore's graphic novel of the same name, began in 2007 with the cast announced in July of the same year. Åkerman was to take the lead female role as Silk Spectre II,[23] a part for which Snyder picked her over one hundred other actresses.[1] Other more well-known actresses were originally considered for the role, but Snyder felt that they could not play such a serious part.[24] Åkerman rehearsed with "months of hardcore training" and went on a very strict diet,[1] before filming began in October 2007 and concluded in February 2008.[25] She had to wear high heels and an uncomfortable latex costume.[26] She also wore a brunette wig, which often stuck into the latex. The wig and latex provided little protection when performing stunts, and she often bruised herself during filming.[24] Premiering in February 2009, the film received generally favourable reviews,[27] and was a commercial success, grossing $185 million worldwide.[28] Although Åkerman was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Teen Choice Award for her performance in the film,[29][30] critics were generally negative towards her acting.[31][32][33]

Following a March 2008 announcement, Åkerman joined the cast of The Proposal, a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in the lead roles.[34] Åkerman played a supporting role as Gertrude, the ex-girlfriend of Reynolds' character.[35] Although the film received mixed reviews, it went on to gross $317 million worldwide.[36] Reports in October 2008 indicated that Åkerman had signed up for Couples Retreat, a comedy film written by Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn with direction by Peter Billingsley.[37] Åkerman played Ronnie, the wife of Vaughn's character and the mother of his two children.[38] Åkerman enjoyed playing a mother for the first time and tried to make her character as truthful as possible.[38] She dyed her hair brown for the part as she did not want to look like a "blonde bombshell".[3] The film was shot on location in Bora Bora for three and a half weeks.[38] It premiered in theatres in October 2009 and grossed $34 million in its opening weekend in the United States, entering number one at the box office, and totalled $171 million worldwide.[39] However, reception for the film was mainly negative, with critics panning it for the "arid, mirthless comedy".[40]

In 2010, Åkerman co-starred as Annie in happythankyoumoreplease, written and directed by Josh Radnor.[41] As the character had alopecia, Åkerman shaved off her eyebrows and wore a bald cap to cover her hair.[42] Radnor originally sent her the script and offered her a different role, but Åkerman felt that she wanted to play Annie, only to find that the character had already been cast. However, the actress cast as Annie left the project and Åkerman got the role.[42] The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2010 and received an audience award for Favorite U.S. Drama,[41] but critical reception was mixed.[43] In May 2010, Åkerman guest starred on the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Wedding Bride".[44] In August 2010, she joined the cast of the Adult Swim comedy series Childrens Hospital, playing the part of Dr. Valerie Flame.[45] Åkerman played a supporting role in the romantic comedy film The Romantics, which premiered on September 10, 2010 in limited release.[46] In 2010, Åkerman played in the comedy film Elektra Luxx, the sequel to 2009's Women in Trouble, written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez.[47] She was initially offered her role as Trixie at a screening of Women in Trouble.[48] The film premiered on March 11, 2011 in limited release and received generally unfavourable reviews, with critics calling it a "bizarre sex comedy".[49]

2011–present

Åkerman starred in the lead female role in the film The Bang Bang Club, which premiered during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.[50] The film had its United States premiere in April 2011 at the Tribeca Film Festival,[51] and received mixed reviews.[52] Reports in March 2010 revealed that Åkerman had been cast alongside Gary Oldman and Milo Ventimiglia in Cliff Dorfman's directorial debut, Criminal Empire for Dummy's.[53] In June 2010, it was reported that Åkerman had signed up for Catch .44, a drama film with Forest Whitaker and Bruce Willis in the male lead roles.[54] The film was written and directed by newcomer Aaron Harvey.[54] Shooting began on July 11, 2010,[54] and Anchor Bay Entertainment has acquired the rights to release the film sometime in 2011.[55] Åkerman also joined the cast of Wanderlust, being one of the last actors to be cast.[56] The film was directed by David Wain and produced by Judd Apatow.[56]

Åkerman will star in the 2012 bank heist action film Medallion with Nicolas Cage.[57] She will also star as Linda Lovelace in Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, directed by Matthew Wilder and based on the life of the late porn star. Åkerman took over after Lindsay Lohan, who was fired from the project.[58] According to Åkerman, the film takes focus on Lovelace's personal life.[59] She is also up for a role in Serpent Girl, based on Matthew Carnahan's book of the same name.[57] In May 2011, it was confirmed that she had joined the cast of Rock of Ages as the journalist Constance Stack. The film, and the other projects The Giant Mechanical Man and The Numbers Station, are set to be released in 2012.[60]

Image

Åkerman is noted for frequently appearing in nude scenes in her films, such as The Heartbreak Kid and Watchmen.[61][62] She has stated that she feels comfortable as long as the scenes are not gratuitous.[63] In an interview with Daily Mail she commented, "I spent a lot of time as a child in Sweden; it’s natural there. [...] I don’t know many women who go to bed with their husband at night and have sex with a bra on, do you? So let’s make it real in the movies."[3] She described the sex scenes in The Heartbreak Kid as "quite acrobatic" and director Peter Farrelly had to show her the positions before shooting as she did not fully understand him.[63] The sex scene in Watchmen includes Leonard Cohen's recording of "Hallelujah".[1] Åkerman called the scene "beautifully shot" and believed the film would not be complete without it.[1]

In 2008, she made her first appearance on AskMen's "99 Most Desirable Women" list at number sixty.[64] The same year, men's magazine Maxim placed her at number fifty-nine in their annual "Hot 100" rankings.[65] The following year, the magazine ranked her at number four.[66] Although admitting that sex appeal is one of the "best assets", Åkerman considers being beautiful both "a blessing and a curse", stating; "I tend to get a lot of scripts in which people want me to play the trophy wife, which is frustrating because I want the interesting, meaty roles."[3]

Personal life

As Åkerman was born in Sweden and grew up in Canada, she has "conflicting feelings" for the two countries.[1] In an interview with Toronto Star, she said, "Every time I'm in Canada I feel more Swedish, and every time I'm in Sweden I feel more Canadian. I belong in both places and I love them both equally."[1] She holds both Swedish and Canadian passports.[1] Apart from speaking fluent English and Swedish, she also speaks French and Spanish.[2][4] She describes herself as a feminist as she believes in equal treatment for both sexes, but also considers that "We [women] are different", adding that she "embrace[s] those differences."[3] She has revealed that she is dyslexic and said that it takes her "a long time" to learn her lines, saying "I get horrified when I have to do table reads with the whole cast, because there’s a lot of stuttering coming from me, so I have to do a lot of prep."[67] Because of this, she prefers to improvise her lines.[67] She said, "It’s so funny, because you do get directors who are more adamant about the words — especially writer-directors. They want the words to be precise. And I do end up changing words, and it doesn’t make sense, and I understand why they want me to say the words because I switch sentences up. It’s just the dyslexia that comes in."[67]

Åkerman was raised a Buddhist,[9] which inspired the lotus flower tattoo on her upper back.[5] She described it as a symbol of "creating your own life and your own karma without having to tie it back to your roots and past and not letting that hold you back."[9] She also has a tattooed 'Z' on her right wrist, honouring her husband, Italian musician Roberto Zincone.[5] The two met in 2003 when Åkerman was the lead singer in The Petalstones, for which Zincone served as the drummer.[3] After band practices, they usually socialized, using a dictionary as he could not speak English.[5] They eventually started dating and married at Grand Hotel Moon Valley in Sorrento, Italy on June 20, 2007.[3][7] The couple resides in Los Angeles, California.[11]

Filmography

Films
Year Title Role Notes
2000 Skulls, TheThe Skulls Coed in Caleb's Apartment
2002 Circle, TheThe Circle Tess
2003 Utopian Society, TheThe Utopian Society Tanci
2004 Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Liane
2007 Invasion, TheThe Invasion Autumn Uncredited
2007 Brothers Solomon, TheThe Brothers Solomon Tara
2007 Heartbreak Kid, TheThe Heartbreak Kid Lila
2007 Heavy Petting Daphne
2008 27 Dresses Tess Nichols
2009 Bye Bye Sally Sally Grimshaw
2009 Watchmen Laurie Juspeczyk / Silk Spectre II Saturn Award nomination
2009 Proposal, TheThe Proposal Gertrude "Gert"
2009 Couples Retreat Ronnie
2010 happythankyoumoreplease Annie
2010 Romantics, TheThe Romantics Tripler
2010 Elektra Luxx Trixie
2010 Bang Bang Club, TheThe Bang Bang Club Robin Comley
2011 Wanderlust Eva completed
2011 Criminal Empire for Dummy's Kerry completed
2011 The Giant Mechanical Man Jill completed
2011 Catch .44 Tes post-production
2012 Medallion Riley Simms post-production
2012 Rock of Ages Constance Sack post-production
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1997 Earth: Final Conflict Avatar Episode: "Truth"
2000 Relic Hunter Elena Episode: "Affaire de Coeur"
2001 Twice in a Lifetime Ramona Dubois Episode: "Knockout"
2001 Doc Maddy Dodge Episode: "Face in the Mirror"
2001 Witchblade Karen Bronte Episode: "Conundrum"
2002 A Nero Wolfe Mystery Server Girl #11 Episode: "Poison a la Carte"
2005 Comeback, TheThe Comeback Juna Millken Main cast
2006 Love Monkey Kira Dungen Episode: "The One That Got Away"
2006 Entourage Tori Episodes: "Strange Days" and "Three's Company"
2010 How I Met Your Mother Movie Stella Episode: "The Wedding Bride"
2010–present Childrens Hospital Dr. Valerie Flame Main cast

References

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