Japanese Twitter is wildin’ due to some unearthed info: Apparently, the man who played the grandpa who willingly jumped to his death in “Midsommar” was the face that launched a thousand anime bishies.
— もつれら (@mtmtsf) February 21, 2020
This man is 65-year-old Swedish actor Björn Andrésen. In “Midsommar,” he was Dan, the old man whose face was bashed with a mallet after he survived the cliff fall (a scene that left a very…vivid image in my head).
But that face of his was all the rave in the ’70s. Back then, he was popular for his beautiful face, mostly because of his role as the young Tadzio in “Death in Venice.”
The film was a box office flop, but it was Andrésen’s springboard to becoming the poster child for beautiful anime boys. After “Death in Venice,” he spent a lot of time in Japan, where his beauty was so divine that he unknowingly became the muse of every ’70s mangaka, inspiring the birth of the bishounen.
BJORN ANDRESEN WAS THE MFING B L U E P R I N T FOR YOUR ANIME DADDIES PUT SOME RESPECT ON HIS NAME pic.twitter.com/kk0617Kx63
— kei | VOTE ON MY PINNED (@cherryboy_yoin) May 5, 2020
A bishounen, for the benefit of the non-weebs, refers to a “beautiful boy” or a male character with androgynous traits, and is often found in shoujo and boys’ love manga.
It’s easy to spot a bishounen―he’s usually tall, slender, has a gentle-looking face and stylish hair. Think, your K-drama oppa, but a little younger.
Andrésen fits the bill so well that the stylish, long-haired twins in the ’80s anime “Patalliro! Stardust Keikaku” were named after him. Also, a side note―doesn’t he have demigod of Apollo vibes? On top of his looks, he’s also a talented musician.
In 2003, he sat down with The Guardian and talked about the film and the reputation he gained after that. He talked about his feelings regarding his reputation as a pretty boy and said he was disturbed about the kind of attention he received, especially after “Death in Venice.”
In the interview, he expressed his dislike for his role in the film and recounted a time when “Death in Venice” director Luchino Visconti and some members of the crew took him to a gay bar. He said it made him uncomfortable, because adults had eyed him “as if he was a nice meaty dish.”
It was the first of many similar experiences, he said, and Tadzio continued to haunt him even years after he went incognito. He admitted that his career was “chaos,” and felt that being reduced to a beautiful boy was more of a curse than a blessing.
“The worst thing of all is that no one pays attention to your ambitions, your dreams or who you really are,” he told The Guardian.
*Freckle voice* Sometimes…being genetically gifted…is worse.
Stills from “Midsommar” and “Death in Venice”