Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

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"Coster-Waldau" redirects here. For the former Miss Greenland, see Nukaaka Coster-Waldau.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Coster-Waldau at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International
Born (1970-07-27) 27 July 1970 (age 46)
Rudkøbing, Denmark
Alma mater Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance
Occupation Actor, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1993–present
Spouse(s) Sascha Nukâka Motzfeldt (m. 1998)
Children 2

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Danish pronunciation: [neɡ̊olaɪ̯ kʰʌsd̥ɐ ˈʋald̥ɑʊ̯]; born 27 July 1970) is a Danish actor, producer and screenwriter. He graduated from Danish National School of Theatre in Copenhagen in 1993. Coster-Waldau's breakthrough performance in Denmark was his role in the film Nightwatch (1994). Since then he has appeared in numerous films in his native Scandinavia and Europe in general, including Headhunters (2011) and A Thousand Times Good Night (2013).

In the United States, his debut film role was in the war film Black Hawk Down (2001), playing Medal of Honor recipient Gary Gordon. He then played Detective John Amsterdam in the short-lived Fox television series New Amsterdam (2008), as well as appearing as Frank Pike in the 2009 Fox television film Virtuality, originally intended as a pilot. He became widely known to a broad audience for his current role as Ser Jaime Lannister, in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Early life[edit]

Coster-Waldau was born in Rudkøbing, Denmark, the son of Hanne Søborg Coster, a librarian,[1] and Jørgen Oscar Fritzer Waldau (died 1998). He has spoken in interviews about his father's problems with alcohol, as well as his parents' divorce.[1] He has two older sisters, and was raised mainly by his mother.[2] He grew up in Tybjerg, a small village between Ringsted and Næstved in southern Zealand.[1][2]


Coster-Waldau was the youngest actor to enter the Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance (Danish: Statens Teaterskole), where he was educated from 1989 to 1993. He made his stage debut as Laertes in Hamlet at the Betty Nansen Theater. His role in the film Nightwatch (1994) brought him fame in his native country.[3] He then went on to play in Simon Staho’s Wildside (1998), which he also cowrote, and starred in Danish films such as Misery Harbour (1999). He made his British début alongside Clive Owen, Jude Law and Mick Jagger in Bent (1997).[4]

Coster-Waldau at Game Of Thrones season 3 premiere in March 2013

In 2001, he began his U.S. career in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down as Medal of Honor recipient Gary Gordon. Coster-Waldau says "My first U.S. movie was Black Hawk Down and a friend helped me put myself on tape up on the attic over my apartment in Copenhagen. We shipped it out and I got lucky."[5]

Coster-Waldau used his success to take roles on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly his native Scandinavia.[6]

He next landed a lead role in Michael Apted's Enigma and also appeared as a villain in the action film My Name is Modesty (based upon the Modesty Blaise comic strip). Scott brought Coster-Waldau back for his 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven. Richard Loncraine, who cast the actor in Wimbledon in 2004, cast him in Firewall two years later, in 2006.[3] In 2007 he played John Amsterdam, an immortal New York homicide detective who will become mortal after he finds his true love, in the short-lived Fox TV drama series New Amsterdam.[7] As a result of filming that series' pilot, Coster-Waldau obtained his Screen Actors Guild card. He later recalled in a 2015 interview in TV Guide, "Finally getting my SAG card was huge for me...I got excited I went straight to the SAG online shop and bought four mugs with SAG logo. [I] still have those mugs!"[8]

Since April 2011, Coster-Waldau has played Jaime Lannister on HBO's hit series Game of Thrones, based on George R. R. Martin's best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel series. He commented about the character "What's not to like about Jaime? As an actor I couldn't ask for a better role".[5] In 2011, he also starred alongside Sam Shepard in Mateo Gil’s feature Blackthorn and in Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters.

Coster-Waldau with cast of Game of Thrones 2014 in San Diego Comic Con International

Coster-Waldau starred in the 2013 horror film Mama alongside Jessica Chastain. He went on to play Sykes, a military weapons expert in the science fiction action thriller film Oblivion. The same year he co-starred with Juliette Binoche in Erik Poppe's drama A Thousand Times Good Night. In 2014, he starred in Susanne Bier's Danish thriller A Second Chance as Andreas, a police officer forced to make a difficult choice. In 2016, Coster-Waldau appeared in the action-fantasy film Gods of Egypt as Horus, an Egyptian God of the Air who loses both his eye and seeks revenge for the death of his parents.

In 2015 he was confirmed to star in Roman Waugh's upcoming prison film Shot Caller.[9] He is also set to star in Danish 3 Things, a thriller about a prime suspect of a bank robbery who negotiates the terms of his witness protection deal.[10] In 2017 he is set to star in the psychological thriller Spinning Man, the US debut of his fellow Dane director Peter Flinth[11] as well as in E.L. Katz's dark comedy Small Crimes.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Coster-Waldau married Nukâka, a Greenlandic actress and singer, in 1998,[13] and they live in Kongens Lyngby with their two children, daughters Filippa (born October 2000)[14] and Safina (born November 2003),[15] as well as two dogs.[16]

Filippa has starred in a Danish short film, The Girl and the Dogs, which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.[17][18]

His father-in-law is Josef Motzfeldt, a member of the Parliament of Greenland and former leader of the Community of the People party.

UNDP ambassadorship[edit]

"My main mission as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador will be to raise awareness and support for the Global Goals for a better future for all, which cannot be achieved without empowering women and protecting our planet,"

—Coster-Waldau on his mission as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador in 2016[19]

Since September 2016 he has been appointed UNDP Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness and support United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, an action to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Nightwatch Martin Bork
1997 Bent Wolf
1997 Hemmeligheder Mads
1998 Wildside Ossy Also writer
1998 Nattens engel Frankie
1999 The Cable Club Rocker
1999 Misery Harbour Espen Arnakke
2000 På fremmed mark Holt
2001 Enigma Puck
2001 Black Hawk Down Gary Gordon
2002 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman Anton
2003 Stealing Rembrandt Kenneth
2003 The Bouncer Svend
2004 My Name Is Modesty Miklos
2004 The Good Cop Sune
2004 Wimbledon Dieter Prohl
2005 Kingdom of Heaven Village Sheriff
2005 The Headsman Martin
2006 Firewall Liam
2006 Triple Dare Martin
2007 The Baker Bjorn
2007 Wonderful and Loved by All Micke
2007 The Early Years: Erik Nietzsche Part 1 Sammy
2008 The Kautokeino Rebellion Biskop Juell
2008 Himmerland Thomas Also co-producer
2009 At World's End Severin Geertsen
2011 Blackthorn James Jovin
2011 Headhunters Clas Greve
2012 Aurum Executive producer
2013 Mama Lucas / Jeffrey Desange
2013 Oblivion Sykes
2013 A Thousand Times Good Night Marcus
2014 The Other Woman Mark King
2014 A Second Chance Andreas
2014 Upstart Executive producer
2014 Livsforkortelses Ekspert Producer
2015 Klovn Forever Himself Cameo
2016 Gods of Egypt Horus
2016 Shot Caller Post-production
2017 3 Things Mikael Post-production
2017 Small Crimes Joe Denton Post-production
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Slaget på tasken Christian Television film
1995 Who's Hitler? Nattevagten Television short
1995 Lyse tider Television short
1997 Jacobs liste Jacob Television film
2000 Lock, Stock... Jordi 2 episodes
2006 Filthy Gorgeous Alex Television film
2008 New Amsterdam John Amsterdam 8 episodes
2009 Virtuality Commander Frank Pike Television film
2009–10 The Left Wing Gang Jan Weimann 5 episodes
2011–present Game of Thrones Jaime Lannister Main Role
Empire Hero Award (2015, shared with cast)[20]
Nominated—People Choice Awards Favorite TV Anti-Hero (2013)
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2013)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2013)
Nominated—Scream Award for Best Ensemble (2011)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television (2013)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2011, 2013–2015)
2015 Saturday Night Live Jaime Lannister Episode: "Taraji P. Henson/Mumford & Sons"


  1. ^ a b c Svetkey, Benjamin (1 April 2014). "Great Dane: Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau". Condé Nast. p. 2. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Cooper, Charlie (16 March 2013). "My Secret Life: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, 42, actor". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "New Amsterdam Cast List". New Amsterdam : Forever. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Nikolaj Coster Waldau". Den danske film database (in Danish). Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Oebel, Nicole. "Interview with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau". Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Taking It All In Stride". Destination: 36–41. May 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau profile". Buddy TV. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  8. ^ Moynihan, Rob (19 January 2015). "How I Got My SAG-AFTRA Card"". TV Guide: 8. 
  9. ^ Selcke, Dan (26 April 2015). "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau will play a SoCal gangster in Shot Caller". Winter is Coming. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  10. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (18 November 2015). "'Game of Thrones' Star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Boards Thriller '3 Things'". Variety. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  11. ^ Kay, Jeremy (13 May 2016). "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to star in 'Spinning Man'". Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (11 May 2016). "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Starring in Dark Comedy 'Small Crimes'". Variety. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  13. ^ Donbavand, Katie (3 April 2014). "Game of Thrones Bad Boy Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Is Actually Really Nice in Real Life". Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  14. ^ Tilley, Steve (23 October 2014). "'Game of Thrones' star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau promises big things in store for season five". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  15. ^ Her er dit liv - (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). YouTube (in Danish). 17 December 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  16. ^ Svetkey, Benjamin (1 April 2014). "Great Dane: Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau". Condé Nast. p. 3. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "Short Film Catalog: The Girl And The Dogs". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  18. ^ "The Girl and the Dogs". Copenhagen Film Fund. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  19. ^ a b "Game of Thrones Star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau named UNDP Goodwill Ambassador". Retrieved 17 July 2016. 
  20. ^ "The Jameson Empire Awards 2015". Bauer Consumer Media. 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 

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