NOVEMBER 5, 2014
BY GARY COLLINSON
Paul Risker chats with Vikings star Alexander Ludwig…
As part of a special week long feature to coincide with the home entertainment release of Vikings series 2, Flickering Myth sits down in conversation with the cast and creator Michael Hirst to go behind the scenes of the critically acclaimed historical drama.
From the reflections of two onscreen brothers [Travis Fimmel and Clive Standen], Alexander Ludwig a.k.a. Bjorn reflects on joining the cast in series 2 and playing Ragnar’s son…
Paul Risker: Going into season two you are taking over a role that has been played by a younger actor (Nathan O’Toole). Did that present any challenges?
Alexander Ludwig: It has its challenges. I thought that Nathan did such a great job and I was obviously very happy to be a part of the show. But I also loved his character as a child and so it was bittersweet.
I definitely wanted to keep elements of the way he had played it, which I think was important especially in the transition stage, and especially in the third season. I have kind of veered away from that because when you grow up and you become a man there are elements that you always keep with you, but I’m not the same guy as I was yesterday, and I wanted to make sure I could show that he’s grown up.
Season two is definitely a coming of age season for Bjorn, and in season three he’s his own man. He’s a team with his father and he’s basically learning to lead, because historically that’s what will happen – Bjorn will have to step up and take over.
PR: What do you think Bjorn wants most of Ragnar – to be a good father or to be his equal?
AL: His respect – definitely. I don’t think he needs a father figure. Ragnar has always been a great father to him, and so what he really wants is his respect.
It’s so funny when you do historical shows because you realise that people in terms of being a human being, relationships with one another doesn’t really change over time at all. We still have the same problems nowadays that we did back then. I want my Dads respect in real life, and I want to prove to my father that I can make him proud and I can do better than him. I think that is also what Bjorn wants.
He’s intelligent and so he wants to learn everything he can from his father because he sees that he is a visionary. But at the same time he does want to do better, and he wants to go further. He wants to become even more legendary, and historically that is what happened. It is so cool to be on a show and to be able to start showing that.
One of the most powerful themes in narrative fiction is the idea that every generation wants to despite their respect for the previous generation to propel themselves further. This is a common conflict in narrative fiction.
It’s an interesting thing to dive into and explore, because when you’re living it rarely do you see it from the outside perspective. But when you’re playing a character that is going through that then you really sit back and think about it. You realise how hilarious it is that what everybody wants to do is to make sure they do a better job than the generation before them.