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True Blood and 30 Rock Actors Sail to Greenland to Film Funny or Die Series to 'Save the Arctic'

Climate

It seems like everybody is going to the Arctic these days to talk about climate change. First, President Obama a few weeks ago. Now, True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard and 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer. And it makes sense.

The Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the globe in the last 50 years. And the signs of that warming are everywhere. Just yesterday, it was announced that Arctic sea ice was at its fourth lowest level on record. And last week, NASA put out a video explaining why we should all be concerned about Greenland's melting ice sheet. Rapidly melting glaciers, an insane fire season and increasing swarms of caribou-killing mosquitos all show that Alaska and the rest of the Arctic are, in the President's words, "On the frontlines in the fight against climate change."

While Obama chose to visit Alaska, Skarsgard and McBrayer along with Andy Bichlbaum from the activist duo The Yes Men are currently sailing around Greenland. They are hoping to bring awareness about the urgent need to act on climate change. They're aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise with a team from the comedy video website Funny or Die to make the first comedy series in the world that’s shot on location in the Arctic Ocean.

Actors Alexander Skarsgård (left) and Jack McBrayer (right) seem like an unlikely pair, but they are coming together to spread the message about the impacts of climate change. Photo credit: Greenpeace

The project is designed to "increase public awareness of the costs of global warming and build support for Greenpeace’s global 'Save the Arctic' campaign," according to Greenpeace. The campaign, backed by more than 7 million people, hopes to create a wildlife sanctuary in international waters around the North Pole and to bring about an end to drilling for oil in the Arctic. Greenpeace is releasing daily posts about the expedition, "which show Alex, Jack and Andy discovering the spectacular landscapes and wildlife of the region."

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“We’re very happy to welcome this team aboard our ship to experience the beauty of the Arctic, and hopefully make some great comedy at the same time," said Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Sune Scheller. "If we want to protect this amazing place we’ll need millions more people alongside us, and Alex and Jack can help explain things like oil drilling and global warming in a really accessible way. We have no idea how this is going to turn out, but we’re excited to see what happens next.”

Alexander Skarsgård and Jack McBrayer sailing with Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise, filming scenes for the comedy show Funny or Die. Photo credit: Greenpeace

The pair seems like an unlikely duo. McBrayer with his Southern twang is known for "his absurdly cheerful, overtly polite and almost childlike persona" as Kenneth Parcell on the Emmy award-winning show 30 Rock. While Swedish-born Skarsgard has been voted the sexiest man in Sweden five times and plays a 1,000-year-old Viking vampire in the highly sexualized series True Blood. Still, they both care deeply about the environment.

"Frankly, I do not like cold weather, so for me to place value on cold weather and ice, that is something," said McBrayer. "If I am fighting to keep them around, then I think that should carry some weight."

 

"This Arctic project is about raising awareness and about getting some important messages out there," said Skarsgard. "But we’re trying to do it in a way where we kind of make fun of ourselves, Jack and I. So we’re trying to do a slightly comedic spin on something that is very serious - a comedic take on a life-and-death question."

Bichlbaum's The Yes Men is known as a "culture-jamming activist group." They've been behind a number of well-publicized pranks to raise awareness about important under-reported social issues. The group has even produced three movies. A few months ago, they came up with a comical solution to California's epic drought.

“When Greenpeace suggested we come up with a campaign to draw attention to the loss of Arctic ice and what that can mean for the planet, I immediately thought it worth seeing if we could reach some really big audiences," said Bichlbaum. "We’re doing a couple of classic stealth actions here too, but I’m thrilled that this bigger collaboration is happening.”

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