Jessalyn Gilsig returns to television on March 3 in Vikings, the new nine-part History epic about the Norsemen and their discovery of western civilizations.
Although many TV fans know Jessalyn Gilsig from her role on Glee as Terri Shuster, wife of Matthew Morrison’s Will Shuster, viewers will see a different, more serious and stronger side to Gilsig in Vikings. In the new History epic, Gilsig plays Siggy Haraldson, the beautiful wife of chieftain Earl Haraldson, played by Gabriel Byrne.
Vikings marks Jessalyn Gilsig’s second acting job on cable after appearing in Nip/Tuck on FX and more mainstream network roles in Glee, Heroes, Friday Night Lights, Law & Order, and Prison Break.
“What I like so much about cable these days,” said Gilsig about Vikings airing on History, “is that they’re building worlds that are completely seamless and so thorough where you can’t feel the edges of the set. Vikings in a way fulfilled that dream of mine. They built the world and then we step into it and we have to kind of go through the looking glass into a different world and a different time.”
Created by Michael Hirst (The Tudors, Elizabeth), Vikings stars Travis Fimmel in the lead warrior role of Ragnar Lothbrok whose ambitious, exploring nature clashes with the policies of Siggy’s husband, Earl Haraldson. As the Vikings synopsis indicates, Gilsig’s character may be loyal to someone else beyond her husband.
For Gilsig, Vikings was a collaborative project on many levels.
“There’s so much on this show that supports us as actors,” added Jessalyn about the scope of the project. “The production design is absolutely transformative, the wardrobe, the commitment of the hair and make-up department, the other departments, and the determination to create a world that the audience could buy into.”
Although people may have preconceived images of Vikings as violent and barbaric warriors, the new History project is more about escaping today’s reality to truly feel Viking culture.
“It was a big leap taking on a subject that has a lot of preconceived ideas,” Gilsig continued. “But we want to carry people into an experience where – sometimes when I finish watching Downton Abbey in Britain and then I go to bed, I find myself sort of moving like Lady Mary. You want to bathe in that. I hope that we give people that same experience where just for a second you’re transported and then you have to bring yourself back down into reality.”
Vikings premieres Sunday, March 3 at 10/9c on History.