As one of the most prominent film actors to have emerged from the frosty tundra of Sweden, Stellan Skarsgard drew favorable comparisons to the likes of fellow Swedish thespians Max von Sydow and Erland Josephson. Though relatively unknown in the United States for the first half of his career, Skarsgard introduced himself to American audiences with a memorable performance in Philip Kaufman's erotic drama, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1988). But it was his performance in Lars von Trier's art house hit "Breaking the Waves" (1996) that propelled him into stardom. From there, he gained widespread recognition for performances in high-profile films like "Good Will Hunting" (1997), "Amistad" (1997) and "Ronin" (1998), though by no means did Skarsgard become a household name. He did, however, earn the respect of his peers and the allegiance of theater goers who recognized in the complicated, brooding actor an innate ability to transform himself and become the part he played onscreen. Despite his penchant for the art house, Skarsgard segued into blockbuster features, playing the barnacled ghost Bootstrap Turner in the last two installments of "Pirates of the Caribbean," allowing him to display his considerable talents to worldwide audiences of all ages.