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He returned to Stockholm after six months, but the time he spent studying theater showed him that he wanted to act.
His break came when he was cast as Sergeant Brad "Iceman" Colbert in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill.
Just before leaving to shoot Generation Kill, Skarsgård heard about True Blood, a new series HBO was developing based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris.
At first he was unsure about playing a vampire, but when he learned that Alan Ball, creator of the HBO series Six Feet Under and Academy Award winning screenwriter of American Beauty, was behind the project, he sent in an audition tape.
After four auditions in three cities, Skarsgård learned the role was his just 36 hours before he had to board a plane for Namibia where the project was filming.An adaptation of journalist Evan Wright's book of the same name, Generation Kill follows the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corps during the early part of the Iraq War.The role of Brad Colbert was the closest to a "lead" in Generation Kill, and director Susanna White and executive producer David Simon at first disagreed about casting Skarsgård.Skarsgård appeared in Straw Dogs, a remake of the 1971 film of the same name, as Charlie Venner.The remake's director, Rod Lurie, transferred the small town setting from Cornwall to Mississippi, and described Venner as "an ex-football star gone to seed".