August 23, 2017


16° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast


Advertise With Us

Bjorn to be wild

Canadian actor growing up into sword-swinging warrior on Vikings series

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/2/2014 (1273 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Many young men dream of going into the family business.

Bjorn Lothbrok is one such teenager, who wants nothing more than to follow in his father's footsteps and do the family name proud.

Alexander Ludwig poses with fans as he arrives on the red carpet for the premier the film "The Hunger Games" on Monday March 19, 2012 .


Alexander Ludwig poses with fans as he arrives on the red carpet for the premier the film "The Hunger Games" on Monday March 19, 2012 .

And that's very good news for Alexander Ludwig, because he's the Canadian actor who plays wannabe warrior Bjorn in the second season of Vikings, which premières Thursday, Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. on History.

If Bjorn is successful in taking a much-desired space alongside his father, Ragnar Lothbrok (series star Travis Fimmel), the average workday will include a whole lot of sword-swinging, axe-wielding, seafaring, foreign-lands-raiding adventure -- all of which are rather exciting for a 21-year-old actor from Vancouver to portray.

"It is so much fun," Ludwig said in a recent telephone interview, describing his Vikings gig as the embodiment of every young boy's fantasies. "When you're a little kid, you dream about swinging a sword and living that kind of life; now, I get to live it, and I'm beyond excited."

When Vikings' second season opens, Ragnar is fighting to maintain the control of his village he wrested from former leader Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne) in a bloody showdown. His brother, Rollo (Clive Standen), has turned against him, and before long, Ragnar's indiscretions abroad drive a wedge between him and his shield-maiden wife, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), eventually forcing them to live apart.

He doesn't see his young son, Bjorn, for many years; when they're eventually reunited, the boy has grown into an impressive young man.

Enter Ludwig, smiling and, of course, swinging a broadsword.

"I had done a film called Lone Survivor (with Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch) before Vikings, and I had to put on a lot of muscle because I was playing a Navy SEAL," he explained. "I was kind of already where I needed to be, physically; if anything, I wanted to lose a bit of weight because I didn't want to be seen as this big, beefy guy.

"When it came to prepping for the role and the fight sequences, I had done some (combat) training before, so I felt like I was ready. And I didn't need a lot more training, because they like to keep the fight sequences raw -- once the director says, 'Action!' everything kind of goes to shit and you kind of have to make the most of it. "It's fun -- it's like you're there with your best friends, swinging an axe around and hoping you don't get hit. I mean, it is choreographed and you do have to follow the steps that have been taught the day before, but after 'action,' everything goes the way it goes and you just have to make the most of it."

Ludwig, whose previous acting credits include The Hunger Games and Grown Ups 2, is one of several new cast members in the second season of the Canadian-Irish co-production. Also of note in the rookie class are Donal Logue, who portrays King Horrik, the ruler to whom Ragnar has pledged allegiance, and Linus Roache as Ecbert, King of Wessex, who proves to be a worthy adversary when the Vikings' latest overseas raid reveals that the English are no longer unprepared.

The adventures portrayed in Vikings are loosely based on historical figures and events; Ludwig said he did some research after landing the role of Bjorn and is quite encouraged by where his character may be headed.

"He was very, very influential," Ludwig said of his character's real-life inspiration. "He went on to do some great things, and he even had a lot of influence on how we live today. This season is all about establishing the foundation upon which the legend of Bjorn Ironside was built. He's caught in the middle of this tension between his mother and his father, and he really needs to find out who he is.

"You'll really see Bjorn grow from an emotional young man into a warrior. I think you should prepare for a wild ride." Twitter: @BradOswald

Read more by Brad Oswald.


Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Photo Store

Scroll down to load more