For Alexander Skarsgård, being one of the sexiest actors in Hollywood hasn’t always been a blessing. The Emmy winner recently told The Sunday Times that all the focus on his physical appearance during the early parts of his careers had a negative impact on the choices of roles he was being offered.

“I don’t really know if that was the reason I wasn’t getting roles,” Skarsgård said. “Starting out in Sweden, there was stuff about being tall and blond. But most people here are tall and blond. Still, after my first job, I was on a stupid ‘sexy hunky hot list’ and then people didn’t take me seriously.”

Skarsgård added, “If you want characters with depth, but have been labeled ‘a dude who takes his shirt off,’ you’re not going to get those offers.”

Although Skarsgård had been acting in Swedish films for over a decade and appeared in Hollywood movies such as Ben Stiller’s 2001 comedy “Zoolander,” it wasn’t until his series regular role on HBO’s vampire drama “True Blood” that Skarsgård starting becoming a household name in the U.S. The actor often appeared shirtless as the vampire Eric Northman, a character he played for 76 episodes.

Skarsgård will be shirtless on screen again for his upcoming role as a Viking prince in Robert Eggers’ 10th century epic “The Northman.” Eggers revealed earlier this year, “The amount of discipline that Alex put into this role is crazy. He transformed his body more wildly than he did in ‘Tarzan.'”

“The Northman” co-star Ralph Ineson told NME last year of Skarsgård, “He’s made himself look like some kind of monster for the part, the dedication’s incredible … he’s got his shirt off — and you think: ‘My god, that’s not a bodybuilder doing a scene, that’s like a proper serious actor!'”

“The Northman” opens in theaters on April 22 from Focus Features.