Malin Åkerman

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Malin Åkerman
Malin Åkerman TTF 2012.jpg
Åkerman at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Malin Maria Åkerman
(1978-05-12) May 12, 1978 (age 36)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation Actress, model, singer
Years active 1997–present
Spouse(s) Roberto Zincone (m. 2007; separated 2013)
Children 1

Malin Maria Åkerman (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈmɑːlɪn ˈoːkərˈ.man]; born May 12, 1978)[1] is a Swedish Canadian actress, model and singer. She is best known as an actress, first making appearances in several 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 roles in the feature films The Heartbreak Kid (2007) and 27 Dresses (2008).

She was cast as Silk Spectre II in the 2009 superhero film Watchmen, a role for which she was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. The same year, she 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. She starred in four feature films in 2012, including the comedy Wanderlust and the musical film Rock of Ages. In 2012, she has had a recurring role on the sitcom Suburgatory and starred in the short-lived ABC comedy series Trophy Wife from 2013 to 2014.

Apart from acting and occasional modelling, Åkerman has had a brief music career as the lead vocalist for alternative rock band The Petalstones, but eventually left to focus on her acting career. She was married to the band's drummer Roberto Zincone from 2007 until 2013.

Early life[edit]

Åkerman was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to aerobics teacher and part-time model Pia (née Sundström) and insurance broker Magnus Åkerman.[2][3] When she was two years old, the family moved to Canada after her father was offered a job there.[3] Four years later, her parents divorced, with her father moving back to Sweden.[2] Both of her parents remarried, giving Åkerman one half-brother and two half-sisters.[2] After her mother remarried, they moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.[4] Later in her teenage years, her mother divorced again.[3] Åkerman attended many different schools,[5] including Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in St. Catharines, Ontario.[6] She once attended a Catholic school, though she was raised as 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."[2] 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.[2] Her mother introduced her to modelling while she was still in primary school, and she later landed several advertising campaign deals, but she decided to quit at age twelve.[2] Four years later she returned to modelling after being discovered by Ford Models in a shopping mall in St. Catharines.[2][8] She was signed to the agency and later won a contract with skincare company Noxzema.[8] She soon moved to Toronto while attending North Toronto Collegiate Institute and later on in her OAC year, Dante Alighieri Academy.[8] At the age of eighteen, inspired by the "helplessness" she sometimes felt during her childhood,[4] she decided to become a child psychologist.[2] She supported her education by modelling for television commercials and catalogue layouts.[9] While studying for a year at York University in Toronto, she was simultaneously offered guest roles on television as a result of her exposure in commercials.[9] She saw the acting gigs as further opportunities to pay for her education, but found herself enjoying it and decided to drop out of school to become an actress.[9] She moved to Los Angeles, California in 2001 to pursue her acting career full-time.[10]

Career[edit]

1997–2008[edit]

Åkerman made her acting debut on the Canadian science fiction series Earth: Final Conflict in 1997, in a smaller role as a robot.[11] 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 American film The Skulls.[6] The following year, she made appearances on the Canada-based series Doc and Twice in a Lifetime.[12] In 2001, she moved to Los Angeles, California in hopes of pursuing a broader acting career.[4] At first, she worked as a waitress and stayed at a friend's house.[4][7] In 2002, she received smaller role in the film The Utopian Society.[6][13]

The film was edited by Francesco Sondelli, the guitarist for alternative rock band Ozono.[12] Sondelli asked Åkerman to help the band 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.[9][10] The band's debut album, Stung, was released in August 2005,[14] but Åkerman eventually left to focus on her acting career, admitting that she "actually can't sing".[2] She described her singing as "sort of a self-made, self-taught, if-you-can't-hit-the-note-scream-it kind of thing".[13]

Åkerman at New York Fashion Week, September 2008

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, with Lisa Kudrow in the main role.[6] Kudrow played a former sitcom star who tried to restart her career.[15] 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.[12] Before the Entourage episodes aired, she landed a role in the 2007 comedy film The Brothers Solomon.[16] The film was a box office bomb and received largely critical reviews.[17][18]

Åkerman signed up for a role opposite Ben Stiller in the comedy film The Heartbreak Kid, directed by the Farrelly Brothers, in 2006.[16] She played in the lead female role as Lila, the newly wedded wife of Stiller's character.[19] The film follows the couple's honeymoon in Mexico, where Stiller's character falls in love with another woman and realizes that the marriage was a mistake.[20] A remake of the 1972 film of the same name, it was released in October 2007 to generally poor reviews, as critics deemed it "neither as daring nor as funny" as the directors' earlier films.[21] Åkerman's performance garnered more positive reviews; Desson Thomson of The Washington Post called her a "fabulous comic partner" to Stiller,[20] while Roger Moore of Times Herald-Record asserted that she had outperformed him.[22] The film grossed $14 million in its opening weekend in the United States, and went on to gross $127 million globally.[23]

In 2007, Åkerman joined the cast of 27 Dresses, a romantic comedy film directed by Anne Fletcher with Katherine Heigl in the lead role.[24] The film follows Heigl's character Jane, who has always been the bridesmaid and dreams of her own wedding. Åkerman played Jane's sister Tess.[25] The film was shot during the summer of 2007,[26] and was released in January 2008 to weak critical reception as it was considered "clichéd and mostly forgettable".[27] The film was more successful commercially, with a gross of $160 million.[28] 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.[29] The film premiered at the 2009 Newport Beach Film Festival.[29]

2009–2011[edit]

In 2009, Åkerman starred as Silk Spectre II in the superhero film Watchmen, an adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel of the same name.[30] Directed by Zack Snyder, the feature film is set in an alternate reality in 1985 where a group of retired vigilantes investigate an apparent conspiracy against them.[2][30] Snyder favoured Åkerman over other more well-known actresses as he felt that they could not play such a serious part.[31] Åkerman rehearsed with "months of hardcore training" and went on a very strict diet.[10] She wore a brunette wig, high heels and an uncomfortable latex costume, which provided little protection when performing stunts, and she often bruised herself during filming.[31] Åkerman stated that her character carries the emotion of the film as she is the only woman among several men.[32] Premiering in February 2009, the film received generally favourable reviews,[33] and was a commercial success, grossing $185 million worldwide.[34] Although Åkerman was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Teen Choice Award for her performance in the film,[35][36] critics were generally negative towards her acting.[37][38][39]

Åkerman at the premiere of The Bang Bang Club

Åkerman appeared in the 2009 romantic comedy film The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in the lead roles.[40] Åkerman played a supporting role as Gertrude, the ex-girlfriend of Reynolds' part.[41] Although the film received mixed reviews, it went on to gross $317 million worldwide.[42] Also in 2009, Åkerman starred in the comedy film Couples Retreat, opposite Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn.[43] The film follows four couples as they travel to a tropical island resort for couples therapy.[43] Åkerman played Ronnie, the wife of Vaughn's part.[44] She enjoyed playing a mother for the first time and tried to make her character as truthful as possible,[44] which included dyeing her hair brown to not look like a "blonde bombshell".[2] The film 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.[45] Reception for the film was mainly negative, although Åkerman's performance was met with more positive reactions.[46][47]

In 2010, Åkerman co-starred as Annie in the Josh Radnor-directed comedy-drama film happythankyoumoreplease.[48] As her character has alopecia, Åkerman shaved off her eyebrows and wore a bald cap to cover her hair.[49] She was originally offered a different part, but felt that she wanted to play Annie as it was different from her previous roles.[49] The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010 and received an audience award for Favorite U.S. Drama.[48] Reviews from critics were polarized, but Åkerman received praise.[50][51][52] Later in 2010, she guest starred on the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Wedding Bride",[53] and joined the cast of the currently ongoing Adult Swim comedy series Childrens Hospital.[54] Playing the part of the promiscuous Dr. Valerie Flame (which is itself a part portrayed by Swedish-only speaking "actress" Ingrid Hagerstown as a show-within-a-show), Åkerman joined during the series' second season along with Henry Winkler.[55] The series was originally a web series and Åkerman accepted the role after viewing several webisodes. "It was totally up my alley, my kind of humor", she said of the series.[55] The same year, she played a supporting role in the romantic comedy film The Romantics with Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel and Anna Paquin.[56] The film premiered in September 2010 on limited release to generally negative reviews.[57]

In 2010, she starred in Sebastian Gutierrez's comedy film Elektra Luxx opposite Carla Gugino and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film is a sequel to 2009's Women in Trouble.[58] Åkerman played Trixie, an awkward drug store clerk who falls for Gordon-Levitt's part, who in turn is obsessed with Gugino's character, a retired porn star.[59] Åkerman was offered the role during a screening of Women in Trouble.[59] The film premiered in March 2011 on limited release and received generally unfavourable reviews; critics dismissed its many subplots and called it a "bizarre sex comedy".[60] Next, Åkerman starred in the lead female role in the film The Bang Bang Club, which follows a group of young photojournalists in South Africa during the final stages of the apartheid.[61] Åkerman played Robin Comley, a newspaper photo editor.[62] The film premiered during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival to mixed reviews from the press.[63][64] In 2010, Åkerman signed up for a part in newcomer Aaron Harvey's Catch .44, a drama-thriller film with Forest Whitaker and Bruce Willis in the male lead roles.[65] The film was generally ignored by critics and movie goers alike.[66]

2012–present[edit]

Åkerman (right) with Kathryn Hahn and Adam Sandler, February 2012

Åkerman had a supporting role in the 2012 comedy film Wanderlust, with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd.[67] The film focuses on an overworked couple who end up at a commune when they try to slow things down.[68] Åkerman played Eva, a woman at the commune.[68][69] The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, who were divided regarding its humour, but ultimately praised the cast.[70] Wanderlust underperformed at the box office, earning just over $20 million worldwide during its theatrical run.[71] Åkerman appeared in the comedy film The Giant Mechanical Man, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23, 2012, to average reviews.[72][73] She had a supporting role in the 2012 rock musical film Rock of Ages, based on the stage production of the same title.[13][74] She played Constance Sack, a journalist who interviews Tom Cruise's character Stacee Jaxx. She hired a vocal coach as her role required her to sing; she and Cruise recorded a duet of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" (1984).[13][75] Although the film grossed lower than expected, its opening weekend gross in the United States became the third-highest ever for an adaption of a stage production.[74]

Åkerman starred in the 2012 bank heist action film Stolen opposite Nicolas Cage.[76] In 2010, she replaced Lindsay Lohan as Linda Lovelace in the planned film Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story[77] but the project never entered production.[78] Two other projects, Cottage Country and The Numbers Station, were released in 2013.[79][80] She is up for a role in Serpent Girl, based on Matthew Carnahan's book of the same name.[76] In February 2012, Åkerman was cast in the ABC comedy pilot The Smart One opposite Portia de Rossi and Jean Smart.[81] The pilot was not ordered to series. In May 2012, it was revealed that Åkerman will play Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry in Randall Miller's film CBGB.[82] In the fall of 2012, Åkerman guest starred as Alex on two season two episodes of ABC's Suburgatory.[83]

Åkerman currently plays the lead role on the ABC sitcom Trophy Wife. Åkerman plays Kate Harrison, the third wife of Pete Harrison (Bradley Whitford). Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins also star as Pete's ex-wives. The show has received positive reviews, with critics singling out Åkerman for praise. Matt Webb Mitovich of TVLine said she "no less than shines here, coming off as fun-loving but not flaky, warm and not overheated".[84] Gabriel Mizrahi of The Huffington Post called Åkerman "terrific"[85] and Roth Cornet of IGN singled out her chemistry with co-star Bradley Whitford and her aptitude for physical comedy.[86] Åkerman said that she was initially put off by the title, having previously expressed frustration at constantly being asked to play the "trophy wife."[2] However, when she read the script, she loved the writing and the character and how "not trophy wife" she is.[87]

Personal life[edit]

Åkerman was born in Sweden and grew up in Canada; she has "conflicting feelings" for the two countries.[10] In an interview for 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."[10] She holds both Swedish and Canadian passports.[10] Apart from speaking fluent English and Swedish, she also speaks French and Spanish.[3][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."[2] She has revealed that she is dyslexic and said that it took her "a long time" to learn her lines. "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", she explained.[88] Because of this, she prefers to improvise her lines.[88]

Åkerman was raised a Buddhist,[9] which inspired the lotus flower tattoo on her upper back.[5] 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 for The Petalstones, for which Zincone served as the drummer.[2] 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.[2][7] The couple had one son, Sebastian Zincone, born on April 16, 2013.[89] On November 25, 2013, the couple announced that they were separating. Zincone filed for divorce on December 2, 2013.[90]

Åkerman is noted for frequently appearing in nude scenes in her films, such as The Heartbreak Kid and Watchmen.[91][92] She has stated that she feels comfortable as long as the scenes are not gratuitous.[2] In an interview for 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 ... So let's make it real in the movies."[2] In 2008, she made her first appearance on AskMen.com's "99 Most Desirable Women" list at number 60.[93] The same year, men's magazine Maxim placed her at number 59 in their annual "Hot 100" rankings.[94] The following year, the magazine ranked her at number four.[95] 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."[2]

In 2012, Åkerman travelled to Tanzania with Opportunity International, and has since begun support of their international development work, becoming a Young Ambassador for Opportunity in June 2012[96] and hosting a fundraiser for Opportunity in October 2012.[97]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

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 Short film
2009 Watchmen Laurie Juspeczyk / Silk Spectre II Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Action Adventure
2009 Proposal, TheThe Proposal Gertrude
2009 Couples Retreat Ronnie
2010 happythankyoumoreplease Annie
2010 Romantics, TheThe Romantics Tripler
2011 Elektra Luxx Trixie
2011 Bang Bang Club, TheThe Bang Bang Club Robin Comley
2011 Catch .44 Tes
2012 Wanderlust Eva
2012 The Giant Mechanical Man Jill
2012 Rock of Ages Constance Sack
2012 Stolen Riley Jeffers
2012 Hotel Noir Swedish Mary
2013 Cottage Country Cammie Ryan
2013 The Numbers Station Katherine
2013 CBGB Debbie Harry
2014 Unity Narrator Documentary
2015 The Final Girls Filming

Television[edit]

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 à 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
2012 Burning Love Willow Web series
2012 Suburgatory Alex Episodes: "The Wishbone" and "Krampus" and "Stray Dogs"
2013 Newsreaders Ingrid Hagerstown Episode: "Pubic Hair Crisis"
2013 Robot Chicken Black Widow / Nerd's Niece Episode: "Robot Fight Accident"
2013–2014 Trophy Wife Kate Harrison Main cast

References[edit]

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