Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn) talks about playing a historical figure, filming battle scenes and his time in Ireland.
Question: People who watch the show and who know a lot about the Viking Age will be well aware of Bjorn Ironside. Is there less creative freedom and more pressure playing a historical figure?
Alexander Ludwig: Not really pressure—it’s more exciting because you hear about all these incredible things that these people did and you get to play these people. I just can’t wait to keep telling this amazing story. I’m a huge history buff. I love history and the Viking [age] is such a cool time that doesn’t often get depicted on screen. It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to see what happens next, but at the same time you know the general idea of what’s going to happen to your character.
Question: So you’ve read up on Bjorn?
AL: Oh yeah, it’s incredible. He was one of the greatest Vikings that ever lived and being able to play him is incredible and sitting down with Michael Hirst is amazing. I could listen to him for hours.
Question: You’re no stranger to action films and stunts, but how does the fight scenes in Vikings compare? Do you do all your own stunts?
AL: Yeah, I always do my own stunts. Well, at least I’ll try to as much as I can and as much as they’ll let me, but even if they don’t let me, I’ll still try to do it! This series is more demanding and more exciting than anything I’ve ever done. In The Hunger Games, I learned a lot, more than I ever learnt fighting-wise, but on this show they like to keep the fighting very raw. Vikings aren’t into Kung fu. They’re not these fancy fighters; they’re just going to think of the quickest and easiest way to butcher you. It’s physically demanding carrying the shields and wearing the armor, but there’s endless possibilities to what you can do, as there’s no structure to the way they fight.
Question: Have you picked up any Irish phrases since you’ve been in Ireland?
AL: I’ve started saying “Thanks a million.” “That’s brilliant,” I say a ton. “It’s grand,” I’ve been saying a little bit, too!
Question: If you could play any other character on the show, who would it be?
AL: I’d want to be Ragnar. The way Travis portrays him is exceptional and he’s been a great mentor to me.
Question: Who would win in a fight, Bjorn or Ragnar?
AL: Right now, Ragnar. But when he’s trained and he gets older, Bjorn Ironside would definitely win.