Pilou Asbæk

Pilou Asbæk

Pilou Asbæk at the Berlin Film Festival 2010

Asbæk at the Berlin Film Festival 2010
Born Johan Philip Asbæk
(1982-03-02) 2 March 1982
Copenhagen, Denmark
Nationality Danish
Alma mater Danish National School of Theatre
Occupation Actor
Years active 2008–present
Known for Borgen
Spouse(s) Anna Bro
Children Agnes Bro Asbæk

Johan Philip "Pilou" Asbæk (Danish pronunciation: [pʰiˈluː ˈæːsb̥ɛɡ̊]; born 2 March 1982) is a Danish actor. He is best known for his role as troubled spin doctor Kasper Juul in the Danish TV political drama Borgen,[1] and plays Euron Greyjoy in the TV series Game of Thrones.

Early life

Asbæk was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, the son of gallery owners Maria Patricia (née Tonn) and Jacob A. Asbæk, who run Galerie Asbæk in Copenhagen.[2] His mother was born in Casablanca, Morocco, to a Danish father and a French mother.[3][4] His father is from Hammel, Denmark.[5] He has two older brothers, Thomas Asbæk, an art consultant at Asbæk Art Consulting, and Martin Asbæk, a gallery owner at Martin Asbæk Gallery.[6]

Asbæk went to boarding school at Herlufsholm School where he was active in drama productions.[7] He graduated from Denmark's Danish National School of Theatre (Danish: Statens Teaterskole) in summer 2008.[5]



In 2009, Asbæk played soldier David Grüner in an episode of the second season of another Danish TV series, The Killing (Danish: Forbrydelsen).[1]

From 2010 to 2013, Asbæk played the spin-doctor, Kasper Juul, in the critically lauded Danish TV series Borgen written by Tobias Lindholm about the politics of a female Prime Minister of Denmark.[8] Asbæk's performance was uniformly praised by critics.[9] In 2014, the Danish public-funded DR cast Asbæk as Didrich, a landowner suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, in a big-budget period TV series[10] called 1864.[11]

In 2016, Asbæk joined the HBO series Game of Thrones in Season 6 as the ruthless pirate captain Euron Greyjoy.[12]


In 2011, Asbæk starred in another piece by Tobias Lindholm, in the film, R, as a Danish convict, portraying a harrowing prison experience. The film was shot in the Dogme 95-inspired style.[13] The next year, in 2012, Asbæk starred in another Tobias Lindholm film called A Hijacking, about Somalian piracy, for which he transformed himself physically, gaining weight to imbue the role with method acting.[5]

In 2013, Asbæk portrayed a flamboyant Danish tycoon named Simon Spies in the movie Sex, Drugs & Taxation (Danish: Spies & Glistrup).[14] Asbæk co-stars opposite in the film with his wife's cousin, the actor Nicolas Bro, who plays the other main character, Mogens Glistrup.

In 2014, Asbæk starred opposite Scarlett Johansson in the Luc Besson film, Lucy.[15] Also in 2014, Asbæk appeared in the Bille August film, Silent Heart (Danish: Stille Hjerte), in which his mother-in-law, Danish actress Vigga Bro, plays the character Lisbeth.[16][17]

Pilou Asbæk (far right) co-hosting the Eurovision Song Contest

In 2015, Asbæk again collaborated with director Tobias Lindholm in the film, A War (Danish: Krigen), playing a soldier in Afghanistan.[18] The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival.[19]

Asbæk co-starred in the 2016 remake of Ben-Hur, starring Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman.[10] He portrayed Pontius Pilate.[20]



On 10 May 2014, Asbæk co-hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen, with Lise Rønne and Nikolaj Koppel.[21][22] Some critics commented adversely on the obscure jokes shared by the presenters throughout the televised show.[23]

Personal life

Asbæk's wife is playwright Anna Bro, who has been his partner since 2008. She is the daughter of the actors Hans Henrik Clemensen and Vigga Bro and comes from an extended family of actors.[24] The couple has a daughter, Agnes, born on 31 December 2012.[25]

The nickname Pilou came from his mother's French ancestry, and is a French version of the word Pip.[5] The nickname is because Asbæk was the youngest son, in French, "petit" for littlest, "Little Philip." Pilou is an abbreviation of Petit Philip.[4]

Asbæk's godfather was the late artist, Kurt Trampedach.[7]




Year Title Role Notes
2008 Worlds Apart (Danish: To Verdener) Teis
Comeback Kris
Crying for Love (Danish: Dig og Mig) Oliver
2009 Monsterjægerne Søren
2010 R Rune Won – Bodil Awards for Best Actor
Won – Robert Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Zulu Award for Best Actor
A Family (Danish: En Familie) Peter Nominated – Bodil Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Ole Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Robert Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Whistleblower Bas
2011 Bora Bora Jim
2012 A Hijacking (Danish: Kapringen) Mikkel Hartmann Nominated – Bodil Awards for Best Actor
Nominated – Robert Award for Best Supporting Actor
2013 Sex, Drugs & Taxation (Danish: Spies & Glistrup) Simon Spies Nominated – Robert Award for Best Actor
2014 Lucy Richard
Speed Walking (Danish: Kapgang) Onkel Kristian
The Absent One (Danish: Fasandræberne) Ditlev Pram
Silent Heart (Danish: Stille Hjerte) Dennis
2015 April 9th (Danish: 9. April) Sekondløjtnant Sand
A War (Danish: Krigen) Claus Michael Pedersen
2016 Ben-Hur Pontius Pilate
2017 Ghost in the Shell Batou Post-production
Woodshock Keith Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Deroute Mulvad 3 episodes
2009 Den Fremmede (English: Odd One Out) Den Mørkhårede Short
The Killing (Danish: Forbrydelsen) David Grüner 1 episode
The Left Wing Gang (Danish: Blekingegade) Carsten Nielsen Mini-Series; 3 episodes
2010 Venus Rasmus Short
Borgen Kasper Juul 29 episodes
2013 The Borgias Paolo Orsini 7 episodes
2014 1864 Didrich 8 episodes
2016 Stag Neils
2016–present Game of Thrones Euron Greyjoy 2 episodes


  1. 1 2 Mesure, Susie (4 May 2013). "Fancy a Danish? What about Pilou Asbaek - the man who plays Kasper Juul in 'Borgen'". The Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  2. "Pilou Asbæk: Buy Art to Look At: Not As An Investment". The Big Issue. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  3. http://www.kvinfo.dk/side/597/bio/1068/
  4. 1 2 Kupfer, Ruta (24 January 2013). "'Mad Men' of Northern Europe". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Synnot, Siobhan (11 May 2013). "Borgen's Pilou Asbaek on his Somalian pirate film". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  6. Knutzen, Susanne (5 November 2012). "Kom tæt på brødrene Asbæk". Eurowoman. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  7. 1 2 Zøllner, Kristoffer (25 August 2013). "Pilou Asbæk: Det er jo bare skuespil". Berlingske. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  8. Stanley, Alessandra (11 October 2012). "She Seems to Have It All, a Whole Nation in Fact - 'Borgen,' a Danish Political Drama Series, on Link TV". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  9. Robinson, Joanna (4 September 2015). "The Perfect Binge-Watchable Show Finally Became Available in the U.S.". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  10. 1 2 Lobb, Adrian (8 June 2015). "Pilou Asbæk Interview: "When You Play With National History, People Get Very Emotional"". The Big Issue. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  11. Reuters (14 October 2014). "From the Makers of Denmark's The Killing and Borgen: a Costume Drama". The New York Times. Reuters. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  12. Dornbush, Jonathon (2 September 2015). "Game of Thrones adds Lucy actor to play Euron Greyjoy - Update: It's confirmed.". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  13. Holden, Stephen (16 June 2011). "Life in the Big House: The Danish Experience". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  14. Yde, Katrine Hornstrup (Fall 2013). "TIFF: Sex, Drugs & Taxation - The story of two oddballs and their chase after freedom – meet travel mogul Simon Spies and tax-evading politician Mogens Glistrup.". Danish Film Institute. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  15. Frost, Caroline (6 April 2015). "'1864' Star Pilou Asbaek Interview: Lars Von Trier, Scarlett Johansson And What Kind Of Role Model He Wants To Be". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  16. Holland, Jonathan (23 September 2014). "'Silent Heart' ('Stille Hjerte'): San Sebastian Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  17. Weissberg, Jay (5 October 2014). "Film Review: 'Silent Heart'". Variety. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  18. Dam, Freja (Fall 2015). "Venice Film Festival. A War: Set in Afghanistan, Tobias Lindholm's drama illuminates the consequences of war on all its participants.". Danish Film Institute. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  19. van Hoeij, Boyd (5 September 2015). "'A War' ('Krigen'): Venice Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  20. Ge, Linda; Sneider, Jeff (21 January 2015). "'Lucy' Star Pilou Asbæk to Play Pontius Pilate in 'Ben-Hur' (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  21. Siim, Jarmo (4 February 2014). "Koppel, Asbæk, Rønne to host Eurovision 2014". Eurovision. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  22. Heritage, Stuart (5 May 2014). "Pilou Asbæk: 'Eurovision is a party. I've never said no to a party'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  23. Debnath, Neela (11 May 2014). "Eurovision 2014: Raunchy milk maids, giant hamster wheels and child abuse – the most memorable moments of the night". The Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  24. Lobb, Adrian (13 May 2014). "Pilou Asbæk Interview: "I Have to Get Through the Night Without Starting a War"". The Big Issue. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  25. Olsen, Juliane (3 September 2015). "HBO bekræfter nu, at Pilou Asbæk skal spille med i TV-serien som Euron Greyjoy i "Game of Thrones".". Billed Bladet. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  26. Kastelan, Karsten (13 February 2011). "Shooting Stars Initiative Showcases Rising European Stars at Berlinale". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  27. Bergløv, Emil (17 December 2012). "Pilou Asbæk vinder Ove Sprogøe Prisen". Politiken. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pilou Asbæk.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Sweden Petra Mede
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
(with Lise Rønne and Nikolaj Koppel)

Succeeded by
Austria Mirjam Weichselbraun, Alice Tumler, Arabella Kiesbauer
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