There are only a few days remaining before the premiere of Vikings season 3. OHSOGRAY has screened the first couple of episodes and they are amazing. One of the stand out characters this season is Bjorn, played by Alexander Ludwig. He’s grown up and taking on a new role. OHSOGRAY participated on a press call with Ludwig who discussed Bjorn’s journey.
Vikings season 3 premieres February 19th at 10/c on History
What is Bjorn’s ultimate goal? We know that he’s getting into the fighting but does he have a bigger plan or aspirations?
Alexander Ludwig: Yes, I think that he’s truly been inspired by what his father’s been able to accomplish. I think like any son of a father, they want to make their father proud and they want to be – I think especially amongst this family, there is deep, deep down a certain amount of aspiration to not only fulfill what his father had […] accomplished, but to accomplish even more than what his father ever could. That’s one thing that they really pride themselves on was their fame because that would be how their legend would live on.
Ragnar is unhappy with some of Bjorn’s recent choices. What lengths will Bjorn go to redeem himself in his father’s eyes? Conversely, do you think he actually needs to? Do you think he’s actually done anything wrong?
Alexander Ludwig: No. I think that he does know that he did something wrong. I think it was – and he would go to the end of the Earth to regain his father’s trust. I think you can look forward to seeing that. He always knew in his heart that she wasn’t ready and he blames himself for not picking up even more than he should have. He was so focused on the goal that the family had, that his father and he had, which was to colonize Paris and – at the this point, just to fight the two armies. So he was so focused on that. He forgot about, I think, the more important thing which is family and that’s what his father was saying was that it’s still your responsibility to let her know that she was stupid enough to go into battle when she clearly wasn’t ready.
The two prominent male figures in Bjorn’s life betrayed the family in one way or the other. So how do you think that affected who he is now? For instance, do you think that made him more sensitive towards women since he saw what his mother went through?
Alexander Ludwig: Absolutely, yes. That’s a great question. I also think that he’s found a medium between the two. He’s found a certain ruthlessness but been able to keep a poise and confidence in his own judgment that was lacking amongst the influential people in his life. In a way, I think Bjorn has kind of become the perfect mix but as he will soon realize, to be powerful and to command a presence amongst such ruthless people, you have to have a certain ruthlessness yourself. I think he’s really become his own man. He’s about to learn a very valuable lesson but he’s very smart and I think that’s why, at such a young age, people had already looked up to him.
What do you think your character needs to learn this season?
Alexander Ludwig: Great question. I think he needs to learn that to be a leader you have to encompass a certain sense of ruthlessness, because right now he is a perfect medium I think in encompassing a confidence in himself yet also keeping the poise. I think at one point he will come to realize that, yes, it’s very important but at the same time, to be a leader you have to make decisions that want to draw waves in everyone’s best favor.
How did you get the part and what was it that attracted you to Bjorn?
Alexander Ludwig: Yes. It was actually funny how this actually came about. A woman named Sherry Marsh who’s one of our executive producers on the show had seen me in The Hunger Games and had seen that I had a strong resemblance to Nathan who played the original Bjorn and that I resembled Travis as well. She contacted my team and brought up this show and said, “Is Alexander doing anything?” I just finished Lone Survivor at the time. We had a talk and I’d never thought I would ever do a TV show. I think it was just I think when TV was really becoming – you’re starting to have some really great content. I hadn’t actually seen Vikings yet. So I started watching the show and I called some of my friends and told them what was happening. They were like, “You would be an idiot not to go on the show.” because they were already huge fans of it and I hadn’t been able to because I’m not watching very much TV. So I went in and I met with the president of MGM Television and everybody who’s involved with Vikings, including Travis and Katheryn. Then I did a reading with Travis and Katheryn. The next thing I know, I was up for the role and still up in the air until I saw the potential until Sherry really pulled me aside and said, “You know, Alexander, this is going to be huge and it would be a learning experience for you.” And it’s exactly that. I’ve learned so much in working with such great actors. It has been the creative experience of my life thus far.
How would you define your relationship with Lagertha this season? For your fans, what should they be looking at the most for?
Alexander Ludwig: You can look for more of a camaraderie amongst the two as opposed to a mother and son relationship. This season is a very, very big one for my character in that his parents are going to him for advice. They realize that […] he’s always been a bit of a wise soul. He’s very intelligent in that he speaks when he only needs to but he’s a very good listener and he’s very intelligent and calculating. So you’ll see down the road that his father and his mother will both seek his help and you will see him really, really coming to his own then, especially towards the end of this season, like you’ve never seen before.
How is Bjorn’s relationship with Porunn this season?
Alexander Ludwig: Yes. In season 2, there was a lot left unsaid about their relationship and it was supposed to be vague in that way because I think that there was so much going on and there was so little light shed on their relationship. I think in season 3, you’re going to see that they have grown into something very, very special and loving and really deep and Bjorn get some news that is phenomenal [..] and then basically his family is going to grow and that is very, very great news for him. But unfortunately, things take turns for the worse and something very severe happens and you’re going to realize how deep their relationship really goes because a very big obstacle is put between them. It’s going to be very, very interesting for the fans to see how much they’re willing to overcome it.
What do you like about being part of a show that’s historical fiction – in other words, based on people who actually existed?
Alexander Ludwig: I mean honestly it has been a creative experience in my life and one of the very few experiences I never really grasped the gravity of the situation. Usually, people ask, “Were you happy this was such a success […]?” I had no idea. I always thought that this show would do great but I never realized how much it would mean to me and it’s really just been the creative experience of my life working with such great actors and I love history and it’s always been one of my favorite subjects growing up. So, just being able to be part of a historical drama and explore our past as a civilization and also just continue to grow as a young actor has just been phenomenal. It’s been the experience of my life.
Michael Hirst teased that now that Bjorn is all grown up, he will pose as a challenge to Ragnar as the story continues. Have you felt that shift in Bjorn’s and Ragnar’s relationship from season 2 to season 3?
Alexander Ludwig: Absolutely. I think there’s been a massive shift and I think I’m very excited for the fans to see this season, definitely more so than the second season. Obviously, I love the second season just being a part of everything. Now, you’re really going to see Bjorn as I’d always intended him to be. He’s not a boy anymore. He’s really become a man. You’ll start seeing his father seek out his help as opposed to the opposite way. You’ll start to see him take charge in his own right and be very much a part of the team as opposed to the new rookie. So, it’s really just been a phenomenal experience and I can’t wait for a chance to see this just grow because he really does look to him and he really is just setting up for – I mean the end of this season is just insane and I can’t wait to see everybody’s reaction.
What kind of warrior with Bjorn be when the Vikings go to France?
Alexander Ludwig: He’ll be ruthless and calculated. I think that that’s what his father has always been to an extent, but you’ll see a new side to Bjorn that I don’t think anybody had seen before in that he’s not just fighting for himself anymore but he’s commanding more than just himself. He starts taking charge of other facets of the attack and has really just come into his own and you really start to see – you really do see Bjorn just as a man now and how I always intended him to be. So, I can’t really wait to see how the fans react to this.
How are things with the cast when you aren’t filming? Any pranks?
Alexander Ludwig: Oh my gosh! So many and so many I can’t say [Laughter] in an interview, but I will say that it always involves every morning, early in the morning, I’ll find a way to tackle him to the ground and then he’ll end up throwing something at me halfway through the day. It is always every day you have to be watching your back. One day, we had ice cream on set and I would just take a cone and just threw it in his face. [Laughter] It really just makes everything more exciting. I will say that I’m used to the crazy antics that we get into. When it comes to actually working, we are very professional. [Laughter] Travis more than anybody I know. So, it’s been also the experience of my life working with him and it’s been just – I mean we love each other and I love everybody I work with.
How much do you think Rollo’s guidance makes an impact on the way he is this season as well as how much of a leadership role he’ll undertake?
Alexander Ludwig: Absolutely, I think when his father – especially in the second season when Ragnar was always busy with his own aspirations, Bjorn had come back and was very much in need of a father figure to coach him and welcome him back. Rollo really did take that on. In this season, you will see that but in a totally – the total 180. I think now, you’ll see Bjorn always come to Rollo’s aid and you’ll see Bjorn come to Ragnar’s aid. He’s very much his own man now. He’s learned all he can and still values everyone’s opinion but at the same time he knows that he has a voice now and everybody else knows that his voice should be heard because he is very calculating, and he’s very smart.
Out of all the weapons that you’ve been working with on Vikings, what has been your favorite?
Alexander Ludwig: I mean I love just the axe because it’s so like in the – it’s probably one of the hardest to fight with, but I always force myself to because I like how real it is and just how different it is because you always fight with a sword. Obviously, it’s easy trying to work with is a sword. The worst one is the shield. So whenever you’re in a fight, you always try to get rid of that first. [Laughter]
Do you have any kind of interaction with Aslaug’s sons and will we see them grow up as the show progresses?
Alexander Ludwig: […] Yes. Historically, they actually grow a very close relationship. So much so that after their father passed, they teamed up and declared war on the world. Depending on how long this show will go for, that is something that all the fans can look forward to, to see this new bond that brothers come together because that’s really when it became – that’s really when the Vikings became well-known around the world. People knew this group of these brothers that had come for vengeance. Yes, you can absolutely look forward to that. What’s so funny is those kids are kind of are like my little brothers whenever I’m on set. I love them. I see them all time whenever they’re on set, so we always get to hang out and they’re just the most adorable kids on the planet. [Laughter]
Is there going to be continued peace between Aslaug and Lagertha?
Alexander Ludwig: Circumstantially, something happens that will deter from that entirely. However, I think that when they are all back together that no…I don’t believe that there will be peace forever. I think something has to happen. I’m just in the dark of that as you are though.