How has the change in setting and the increased scale of the action impacted your characters?
Travis Fimmel: “It’s great. We’re really excited for the CGI stuff in Paris.
Alexander Ludwig: “We’re still shooting in Ireland but it was incredible what they did with Paris. I’m really excited to see it because a lot of it is CGI so we get to see this whole new world that’s just been created for us, which we’re really excited about.”
Does Ragnar’s relationship to his people change as he gains more power?
Alexander Ludwig: “Good question. Absolutely. I think so.”
Travis Fimmel: “He never wanted to be king or any of that stuff. He just wanted to explore and that kind of thing. In a way it’s interesting this year the way people treat him. It’s different.”
Alexander Ludwig: “Exactly. It’s not the way he treats others, it’s the way they treat him. This season is about sustaining power as opposed to obtaining it, and how dangerous it is to be up.”
Will he still be leery of Floki’s motivations?
Travis Fimmel: “Of everybody’s motivations – Floki, his sons, his wives, everybody’s motivations. Once you’ve reached power you’re more scared of other people’s ambitions than what your own ambition is. From his wives to everybody, who can he trust, you know? There’s a lot of trust games going on this year.”
Alexander Ludwig: “There’s a line in the script that say…”
Travis Fimmel: “Power is only given to those who dare to bend down to pick it up.”
Alexander Ludwig: “Which is the truth. You have to be ruthless. You have to be able to bend down to be able to pick it up.”
Alexander, why does your character seem more connected to Rollo (played by Clive Standen) as a father figure than Ragnar?
Alexander Ludwig: “This is a really interesting dynamic. It’s really interesting because Ragnar is such a great father but he’s also so busy dealing with his own stuff, being a King for everybody, Bjorn had to find another father figure in his life so he went to Rollo. And Rollo kind of looked for meaning in his life and he found Bjorn. There’s this amazing dynamic between us as well.”
Creator/writer Michael Hirst was talking about how it started with one ship and 30 Vikings. How have you adjusted to the ever expanding scale of the show?
Alexander Ludwig: [Laughing] “Travis’ ego has definitely grown.”
Travis Fimmel: “It’s true to history that we get so many ships and all that. I can’t wait to see it. It’s funny as an actor you don’t get to see it. We’re against green screens and don’t know. They say how many boats are there but we’re like the audience. We’re intrigued to see what’s it going to look like.”
Alexander Ludwig: “It’s embarrassing to say when you ask that question and I wish we had a better answer for you, but the truth is we haven’t seen it because Paris for us was exceptional. They built this huge, huge studio out in back of our studio and it’s all green screen so we don’t get to see it.”
Travis Fimmel: “We never see it. There could be a hundred ships in the background but we don’t get to see it.”
Alexander Ludwig: “We’re just as excited as the audience is.”
Travis Fimmel: “Here’s an actors tip: The more ships there are, the more you lean forward.”
How much of your character comes to life when you put the costumes on?
Travis Fimmel: “All of the crew that are there are tremendous at their jobs, from the costumes, makeup, set design, it really helps put you into that world. As actors we don’t have anything to relate to other than the relationship stuff. We have sons that we love, we have family that we love. We’ll stick up for what we believe in. But we weren’t born in that age. We weren’t fighting with axes. We didn’t hit people in the head with axes. That’s the amazing thing about TV in this day and age.”
Alexander Ludwig: “Your ability to be so creatively, it’s exceptional. I think that they are the true stars of the show. I think Travis would agree.”
Travis Fimmel: “The Irish crew.”
Alexander Ludwig: “They really are incredible. I’ve never worked with such creative minds.”
Travis Fimmel: [Laughing] “They’re drinkers, too.”
Alexander Ludwig: “And I really hope that they get recognized for their efforts because what they’ve done is pretty unbelievable.”
Was there a moment back in the first season when you knew Vikings was connecting with audiences?
Travis Fimmel: “Oh, when they picked us up for the second season, I guess.”
Were you getting feedback from social media or fan events?
Travis Fimmel: “I’m not on social media. But you know when you’re doing something good when you’re surrounded by talented people. You realize that you’re very lucky to be in that group.”
Alexander Ludwig: “In terms of talented people, no one works harder than this f**kface over here. I’ve learned so much from him. [Travis jokes and protests] It’s the truth. He works so hard and it’s incredible to see the effort that goes into this from everybody. It’s an amazing experience to know that you’re working on something great.”
– By Fred Topel
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