Alexander Ludwig is a young, strong, imposing-looking guy. Look no further than his role as Cato in the first Hunger Games movie for proof. But even Ludwig was nervous stepping into the big, bad world that is Vikings.
The 21-year-old Vancouver native nabbed the plum role of Bjorn, the tempestuous teenage son of the mighty Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), as the History drama kicks off its second season Feb. 27. While Ludwig says he was excited to take on the project, he was nervous because not only was it his first TV series, but he was also jumping in after everyone else had a season under their belts.
“It’s interesting when you come in on the second season of a hit show like this. You don’t know what to expect,” Ludwig says. “But I was welcomed with open arms, everybody was fantastic and we all became one big family. I can’t wait to get my ass back there for next year.”
“There” would be Ireland, where the series shoots, and of course this is all assuming that Vikings gets a third season. But if the sophomore effort is as successful as last year’s debut run of History’s first original scripted series, ratings won’t be a problem.
Much time has passed when we pick up Season 2, enough so that Bjorn has grown from a child into a teenager. Bjorn is living with his mother, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), after she left Ragnar, but he is anxious to see his father again. Their eventual reunion soon gives way to much derring-do and adventure that will be sure to delight Vikings fans everywhere.
Ludwig says it wasn’t hard to fake the intensity on set.
“When you’re in a battle scene, they make it very real. There are no wires or anything like that,” he says. “It’s like a schoolyard brawl. [No character] is safe, and it’s just an experience for the audience to watch. It’s very intense and keeps you on your feet. I think it’s a breath of fresh air.”
As much fun as he’s having, one has to wonder whether Ludwig feels he is missing out on the Hunger Games phenomenon since his character only appears in one movie. It’s a worry he laughs off.
“If I was playing a bad guy in the sequel I wouldn’t have done the movie, because I don’t want to be labeled as that,” he says. “It’s very easy to get typecast as that kind of person. There’s so much more to me than just that villainous character.”
Vikings Season 2 premieres Feb. 27 at 10pm ET/PT on History, and airs Thursdays.
Alexander Ludwig in Vikings Season 2: Credit History