Vikings star Alexander Ludwig is in his fourth season playing Bjorn on the hit History series, but fighting bears and adventuring through Europe isn’t the career move he had planned on.
“I never saw myself doing a TV show ever,” he told Starpulse in a recent interview. “That was never my passion. I’ve been kind of too ADD to just stay on one character for so long but as we’ve all seen, it’s been such an amazing change in the industry in terms of stories. The storylines on television have just been so exceptional.
“When Vikings came along, I was very reluctant to take the role at the beginning,” Alexander continued, “just because it’s quite a commitment. I kind of found solace in the fact that I knew I would only be there for four months out of the year so we’d only be ten episodes long and now with this double season order, it has definitely taken its toll but it’s been nothing short of the best decision I’ve ever made and the greatest experience.”
He’s particularly excited about what audiences will see in Season 4. “I get to show this incredible growth,” he explained. “This is kind of Bjorn’s big season with Ragnar [Travis Fimmel], and you’re going to see a huge shift in color. It’s pretty amazing that I had the opportunity to be able to show such growth and I really feel like I myself grew as well.”
“The main part of this whole season for me is Bjorn basically learning to trust his instincts and that power corrupts,” he continued. “As much as he can trust everyone, the most important thing is that he trusts himself, and this whole season is kind of about him learning to do that and learning to take more control.”
Of course he hit one sour note when Vikings fans saw Bjorn, still hurting from being left by his wife, turn a cold shoulder toward his daughter. What was he possibly thinking? “The idea behind that was that Vikings lost their children a lot,” Alexander explained. “and I think that Bjorn, when he sees his daughter for the first time since Thorunn has left and abandoned him and his daughter, it’s just a constant reminder of how hurt he was.
“You’re going to see a darker side to Bjorn as the season continues,” he added. “He slowly starts to become hardened by life’s cruel circumstances and also become selfish by doing that.”
More positively, he and Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) will cross paths again. “You will see a reunion,” Alexander teased, “and he’s all about Lagertha achieving her own dreams. They’ve always had such a strong bond that he’s just excited for her when she’s achieving her goals.
“I think that Bjorn’s learned so much from her as well,” he continued. “She’s become as much of a parental figure as a companion to him now, which is a really cool shift in the relationship.”
Of course, we couldn’t finish this interview without asking him about that fantastic bear fight (see video above). “I think the most challenging part was definitely the conditions. The weather was pretty rough and pretty cold,” Alexander said of filming that buzzworthy scene. “But in terms of the bear, most of it is real.
“We don’t have a budget like The Revenant so we can’t make a CGI bear,” he explained, “so in a really exciting way, we got to use a real one and it was a very, very incredible experience to work with such a beautiful and amazing animal.” Not bad for an actor who never thought he’d be on a television show.
Vikings airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on History.