Actor Travis Fimmel steps into the epic historical world of Vikings this Sunday night in the lead warrior role of the new nine-part History series.
In Vikings, Travis Fimmel plays Ragnar Lothbrok, a curious, compelling warrior based on a real historical person, who is looking to break through barriers and discover new worlds to conquer. Although Ragnar’s ambitious, exploring nature takes him beyond the confines of his village, the warrior must first deal with the policies of chieftain Earl Haraldson, played by Gabriel Byrne.
Created by Michael Hirst (The Tudors, Elizabeth), the new scripted historical drama will chart Ragnar’s ambitions to discover civilizations across the great ocean to the west as well as his inevitable conflicts along the way.
Ahead of the Vikings, The Deadbolt caught up with Travis Fimmel to learn more about his understanding of the great Norsemen, his approach to Ragnar, and how the set was relatable given his own family background in Australia.
THE DEADBOLT: How did you come to an understanding of what Viking men were truly like back then beyond just their violent nature?
TRAVIS FIMMEL: Well, the creator Michael Hirst, and writer, was amazing. He gave us a lot of background on everything. And I guess it’s just our job as actors to humanize it and make it relevant to people today and give them something that they can grab a hold of.
It’s like everybody’s got families and brothers, and every family has their own conflicts. My character, Ragnar, is very ambitious, like a lot of people, and he’s just trying to make a better life for himself.
THE DEADBOLT: When you first got to the set, since you only had a week before you went to Ireland, what did Michael tell you about how to approach Ragnar as compared to the script?
FIMMEL: He just said to humanize it, make people relate. He knew a bit of my history with family stuff and I told him about my brother and that sort of stuff.
He said to just bring all of that to the character and really make the audience relate to the Vikings, because they’re human beings like everybody else. There’s such a myth about them just raping and pillaging and the myth is that they’re very simple people.
But they’re actually very knowledgeable people, very curious and they did amazing things with the resources that they had.
THE DEADBOLT: After growing up on a farm in Australia, did that make the experience more relatable for you at all? How was it when you got over there?
FIMMEL: It’s a lot greener than where I grew up, that’s for sure. It’s a beautiful countryside and they obviously get a lot more rain than we do. But no, it makes our jobs at least a lot more enjoyable because I like the outdoors and it’s a little bit better paycheck than what you get on a farm. I have the best of both worlds.
Vikings premieres Sunday, March 3 at 10/9c on History.