“They thought that if you were born in Europe, you knew all the European accents”

“They thought that if you were born in Europe, you knew all the European accents”

There are actors who are simply born for a certain role. Or a certain image in a slightly broader sense. These are the so-called stereotypical actors that we see playing something similar every time. They could be soldiers, politicians, gangsters or Russians.

And according to Hollywood logic, who could play a pure-blooded Russian better than a pure-blooded Swede? That’s right, you’ve seen him in countless movies and he’s the best “Russian” in Hollywood, even though he’s actually Scandinavian.

Peter Stormare is one of those actors who has specialized in playing minor and supporting roles. However, not everyone can be a superstar at the top of Hollywood or a favorite of the tabloids and teenagers.

However, this does not mean that these actors have less value or make them less successful. They’re just a little more unknown. That’s why we know the face and especially the specific voice of Peter Stormare, although we don’t always remember his name.

Photo: IMDB

Actually, Peter Stormare is not called Peter Stormare. His real name is Rolf Peter Storm, and he was not born somewhere around Moscow or St. Petersburg, but in the vicinity of the Swedish city of Örebro in 1953.

He changes his last name after he enters the acting academy in Stockholm and sees that he has a namesake student.

In Swedish and English, the word storm means storm, and to distinguish himself from his namesake, he decided to use the Swedish equivalent of the English surname Stormer – Stormare. Before doing so, however, the actor briefly calls himself Retep Mrots, which is simply Peter Storm in reverse.

He accumulated quite a few roles in Swedish cinema and television, but somewhere in the mid-90s he decided to try his luck in Hollywood. It strives to be different, standing out from the mass of actors who come and go, and fills the niche of the Eastern European image in films.

Photo: IMDB

In this case, it took advantage of the fact that in those years American producers and casting directors did not know much about Europe, so Peter used the same accent no matter where his character was supposed to be from.

“Do you know Serbian? Of course! They didn’t differentiate between Serbia and Senegal,” Stormare said in 2018. “They thought that if you were born in Europe, you knew all the European accents.”

That’s how it goes with the same number every time, whether it’s an image of a Russian, a Hungarian or a Serb. Thus, Peter Stormare became the “king of accents” and throughout his career mostly adopted the images of criminals, villains or murderers of Eastern European origin.

However, his first role was in Sweden – in 1996’s Fargo, where he played an absolute psycho and stood out in a famously macabre scene in which he stuffs Steve Buscemi’s character’s body into a wood chipper.

However, his breakthrough came in the secondary role of the Russian cosmonaut Lev Andropov from the blockbuster “Armageddon”. There, Stormare portrays Andropov in the most stereotypically Russian way possible – always drunk and doing repairs on a space station by hitting it with a steel rod.

Further, he is again Russian, but this time the mafia boss Alexei in “Bad Boys 2” with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, as well as in “The 11th Hour”, where he co-starred with Kim Basinger. We can’t help but mention his memorable role of Abram Tarasov in the first two parts of the action film “John Wick”.

Photo: IMDB

He also appears as the Devil in “Constantine”, again with a brief but memorable appearance, in a film where he is one of the few positives.

Although in most cases he is a scoundrel or a villain, still the images of Stormare look different every time and always have a dose of his specific humor.

And even if he’s not in a stereotypical image, he can still show talent and turn even an ordinary role into a memorable character, regardless of whether he appears for one episode of a series – as he does in “American Gods” as Chernobog – or a few minutes in the cinema – like the German nihilist Karl Hungus in “The Big Lebowski”.

Throughout his career so far, Stormare has been in a lot of great movies, but there’s still one role he hasn’t won yet. That of a main character.