If he looks like a Viking, he is a Viking.
photos by ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC
Measuring 6’2″, Alexander Ludwig is over six feet of man, but only 22 years old. He’s not a small guy by any means, but neither are his co-stars on his History Channel series. They measure quite evenly to him. Perhaps it was fate that landed him on Vikings, now entering its third season. Whether Hollywood fate or simple chance, Ludwig refers to his involvement on the show as “the best choice [he’s] ever made.” The Canadian actor never imagined working on a television show, he admits, but recent years have shifted his stance. “The truth is that there’s been such a revolution in the industry lately that in the context of television, it’s not that unlike film as it was before. So, when the opportunity of being on Vikings presented itself, I thought, to be consistently working with great people and already having been a fan of the show, I had to.” Ludwig plays Bjorn Lothbrock, the coming-of-age son of Ragnar Lothbrock (Travis Fmmel). One would guess that a guy the size of Alexander Ludwig is on the active side…and one would be correct. As if filming a medieval show multiple months out of the year in Ireland didn’t do enough for your figure, Ludwig is also a ski enthusiast. Having just recently returned from a pleasure trip to Japan, he enjoys, as he puts it, “some of the best snow in the world,” adding that “it has really good quality in powder, so it’s great for skiing.” His love for the sport rings through his chosen words. “I actually grew up competitive freestyle skiing and racing as a kid. I’ve always been such an adrenaline junkie and I love big mountains and skiing and jumping off cliffs, and stuff like that.” When filming, his techniques for releasing that energy are a little less icy. But based on any given shot of Alexander Ludwig at the beach, whatever they may be, they are working. “Going to the gym is also an outlet, and like meditation time for me,” he says. “Just zoning out and listening to music and just getting some time to tune everything out…I usually go early in the morning, before I leave for work. It’s very therapeutic for me. I think that’s the most important thing, though, for my own mental help. You know, to be great, I need to take care of myself first. I make sure that I make some time for that.”
The young man, like many who have come before him, has undeniably grown on screen. It’s something he finds amusing, but he sees his past work as a proud bundle of experiences. “It’s pretty remarkable looking back and just looking at these incredible opportunities I’ve had. I just feel so lucky to have had them so early and learn as much as I could at a young age. It’s kind of unbelievable to look at my old films and see my films now. I think I’ve evolved.” Ludwig’s next film is set to premiere at the music, film and interactive festival, SXSW, in Austin. The dark comedy, entitled “The Final Girls,” in which a girl becomes trapped inside a horror flick, costars Nina Dobrev, Taissa Farmiga, and Malin Akerman to name a few. It’s not what you’re used to seeing him in, but that’s exactly the point. “That was a very interesting script. It’s actually one of the most abstract scripts I’ve ever read,” he admits. “I like taking risks and being weird, and the script is so original, I gave it my life. So, I’m really excited for people to see it.”
Coming to the end of our time together, he speaks to me about Leonardo DiCaprio and his respect for the acclaimed actor. Ludwig hopes to follow in the Titanic star’s footsteps. His favorite movies of his idol include Blood Diamonds and The Departed, then he adds another classic – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – like a true fan. And like an ordinary boy, free of living in the Viking age, he notes that “[DiCaprio] has a new movie coming out called The Revenant, which I’m really stoked to see,” and for a second I forgot I was talking to Cato from The Hunger Games.
photography ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC www.alekandsteph.com
styling WARREN ALFIE BAKER www.warrenalfiebaker.com
grooming SIENREE at CELESTINE AGENCY using PAUL MITCHELL
special thanks to SOPHIE SCARF
Production Bello Media Group | words by DIO ANTHONY