<p>Self-styled "British cowboy" Clive Standen started his career as an action star at the young age of 12 when he joined a professional stunt team in Nottingham. His early experience with horse-...
Bernard Walsh/History/A&E Networks
Vikings began its raid on the small screen last season, coming away with a bounty of ratings riches. Surprising everyone, the show became the number one new cable series of the year with an average of over 4 million viewers. Now Vikings is sailing back to the small screen with an ambitious, dark, and dangerous new season.
When we last left off our favorite raider Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) was battling with brother Rollo (Clive Standen) while complicating his love life. On a raid he spent time with the beautiful Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) while at home his wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) was dealt the crushing blow of seeing daughter Gita die. And former monk Athelstan (George Blagden) was finally starting to take to the Viking way of life.
Hollywood.com was lucky enough to chat with Vikings stars Travis Fimmel, George Blagden, and Alyssa Sutherland to get the scope on Season 2. Here’s what they let slip:
Athelstan has embraced the Viking way of life... or has he?As the season begins, Athelstan has seemingly thrown his lot in with the Vikings entirely. But has he really given up on his Christian faith?
“We leave Athelstan in Season 1 in a very conflicted place. The most interesting characters to play as an actor and watch as an audience are the ones that have deep conflicts running throughout. It would have been far too easy to make Athelstan a completely converted pagan and gung-ho into Viking life,” actor George Blagden said about his character.
“What you see throughout the first few episodes of Season 2 is an attempt and potentially a bit of a bluff on his part. Hopefully what we’ve been able to capture this season is the ongoing conflict that Athelstan has.”
Ragnar’s love life gets complicatedWith his relationship with the tough-as-nails Lagertha on the rocks, Ragnar spends some quality time with the beautiful Princess Aslaug. The repercussions of their momentary fling are far-reaching in Season 2, especially when Aslaug shows up in town pregnant.
“He wants it to be like the Brady Bunch, Ragnar does,” star Travis Fimmel said about Ragnar’s hope of combining both families. “People are putting 21st century values on it, but that stuff happened back then. He had to give it a shot anyway, you know?”
Bjorn grows upSometime in the first four episodes, we jump forward in time four years. This allows little Bjorn to grow up into The Hunger Games actor Alexander Ludgwig.
“We loved Nathan O’Toole, he’s such a great little actor and we were really sad to see him leave. But Alexander’s fantastic too, so he was very well replaced,” Fimmel said. “And he’s a big, big boy. He grows quick in four years.”
Lagertha changes in Season 2Her husband’s betrayal and her daughter's death lead to a much different Lagertha in Season 2.
“Lagertha seems to be chasing a bit more power now,” Fimmel said. “She wants to be Earl. She’s had a taste of power and she’s more about that now.”
Aslaug isn’t a homewreckerAslaug’s appearance on the scene broke up power couple Ragnar and Lagertha, a relationship fans were already deeply invested in after only nine episodes.
“I think it’s really cool that we get to bring this idea to modern audiences,” actress Alyssa Sutherland said. “It’s interesting to me how they struggle with the idea and dilute it down into Aslaug being a “homewrecker” or the other woman, and I question whether that concept would have even existed back then. I like the complication of that storyline.”
Sutherland points out that Aslaug’s goal wasn’t to break up Ragnar and Lagertha when she shows up in town pregnant.
“It seems like a bold move, but what other pregnant chick wouldn’t chase down the baby daddy?”
But Aslaug might have special powersThe world of Vikings has always been filled with mysticism and Princess Aslaug is no different. In Season 2, we find out she might have the power of second sight.
“What I love about the way [writer and creator] Michael Hirst does it is you’re not totally sure if these magical elements that he weaves in every now and then are really happening or if it’s just what they believed at the time,” Sutherland said. “I like that it’s left up to the viewer to decide. I certainly think that Aslaug, whether she was a seeress or not, she certainly believed it and the people around her believed it.”
The season starts with a dramatic battle sceneSeason 2 gets off to a action-packed start with a full-tilt battle between brothers Ragnar and Rollo. But they’re not the only ones doing battle.
“The director shouted ‘cut’ and there was silence and you could just hear this giddy laughter soaring over the forest. And it was me, standing amongst the shield wall, just off my face on some adrenaline high,” said Blagden of his first Viking battle. “Because there’s no pretending; when they smash into the shield wall they really smash into the shield wall.”
Series star Fimmel remembers the dramatic season-opening battle a little differently though.
“Those two days we shot it were some of the hottest days on record in Ireland. A lot of people passed out that day and there were a few injuries,” Fimmel said. “That’s what I remember most about that day.”
Things remain complicated between Ragnar and Rollo How do you fix a relationship like Ragnar and Rollo’s? The two brothers have found themselves almost consistently at odds since the series began, since Rollo’s jealousy often transforms into betrayal.
“It’s going to be pretty hard to ever trust Rollo again,” Fimmel says. “But he’s blood and that’s an important thing to Ragnar. There are certainly big obstacles to overcome with Rollo. The two brothers have a good arc this season, and it’s a lot different from last season.”
Vikings returns for Season 2 on February 27 at 10 PM on the History channel. Will you be watching?
This Sunday, the maiden voyage of History Channel’s hit drama Vikings will come to a close — but before our characters can sail into a hiatus, they will have to face the rough waters of the Season 1 finale. To help prepare you for the journey ahead, Hollywood.com chatted with Clive Standen and he teased that this Sunday’s finale is packed with new problems and massive consequences.
Throughout the season, fans have watched as the two brothers have been fighting for power and control and now their conflicts are going to lead them to make some extremely difficult decisions in Sunday’s finale. “There are some massive choices that my brother and I — Rollo and Ragnar — have to make.” Standen tells Hollywood.com “They are at a crossroads whether they chose to stay together or go their separate ways; they’ll deal with the massive consequences.”
Standen says the he is excited for audiences to finally learn more about Rollo’s motives in the series. The actor explains, “Is he a Neanderthal? Is he actually quite Machiavellian? Is he the good guy? A lot of people have been saying that Rollo has done some questionable things and he’s lurking on being a traitor to Ragnar, but all I can say is as an actor you have to love the character you’re playing.”
The Vikings star continues, “Rollo has had a chance to take everything that Ragnar has got: his boat, his title, his work with Haraldson, to have Haraldson’s daughter and have that legacy — but he turned it all down to be loyal to his brother in the courtroom. He has done so much for Ragnar and the question that I want to ask everybody is what has Ragnar done for Rollo?”
Fans have been treated to some intensely brutal fights this season, so we made sure to ask the Vikings star if the finale will feature another heart-pounding battle. Standen reveals, “I think it’s more of a battle of wits, morale, and loyalty — there are a lot of massive decisions. There’s a lot of rapport and word play and lots of people going behind each others’ backs and lots of people manipulating people.”
Standen teases that all of these verbal backstabbing’s will eventually lead to a massive action-packed fight — but it wont be in the finale. “They’re setting it up for maybe a gigantic battle in series 2. There’s a little bit of a cliffhanger. And speaking of Season 2, Standen says that the creative forces behind Vikings are already hard at work on the sophomore season. “[Series Creator] Michael [Hirst] is working on the script and he is a genius. He tells you the information when you need it, he doesn’t want actors getting ahead of themselves — he’s a very good showrunner,” he says.
So what exactly does Standen know about the upcoming season? “There’s some crazy stuff that seems to be on the horizon and I’m really excited.” He continues, “Just having these little morsels of information just gets me so excited and I can’t wait to get back to Dublin and get to cracking on some skulls.” Standen says that the entire cast was thrilled when they learned Vikings was renewed for another year and they are eager to create ten phenomenal new episodes. “We’re all on the same page and we’re all so confident now that we’ve got a Season 2. I’m just really excited to let lose on this Rollo-coaster if you will,” The actor adds with a laugh.
Don’t miss the Season 1 finale of Vikings this Sunday at 10 PM on History.
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Appeared in two episodes of the BBC's popular crime thriller "Waking The Dead".
Appeared in his first movie, the British romantic comedy "Heroes and Villains"
<p>Self-styled "British cowboy" Clive Standen started his career as an action star at the young age of 12 when he joined a professional stunt team in Nottingham. His early experience with horse-riding and swordplay was to prove invaluable later in his career as he went on to play Archer -- Robin Hood's swashbuckling half-brother -- in the popular BBC TV series "Robin Hood" in 2009. Not content with demonstrating his facility with a bow and arrow, Clive went on to employ his formidable swordsmanship when he played the legendary Arthurian Knight Sir Gawain in the Starz network's TV series "Camelot" in 2011. Clive's historical-action-man status ensured that he was cast in the lead role in The History Channel's "Vikings" series in 2013, as well as the lead in the Viking-Britain-set motion picture "Hammer of the Gods" the same year. Pretty impressive for an actor who had been chosen as "the face of Evian Water" in 2008. </p><p>Clive was born in 1981 on a British army base in Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland while his father was serving there. A few years later, his family moved to Leicestershire, where he grew up only a few miles from Nottingham: a fitting environment for a young man who was heavily influenced by his parents' love of the classic Hollywood swashbucklers of the 1930s and 40s. Clive was already a big Robin Hood fan when Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" was released in the UK and its phenomenal box-office success helped him get his first ever paid job: a live show in Sherwood Forest, staged for international tourists, in which he played the role of Little John's son, Wolf Little. "It was a brilliant experience and the perfect place to learn stunts and sword fighting," Clive later told the BBC. </p><p>A keen student of martial arts, by the age of 15 Clive was also a member of The National Youth Theatre and The National Youth Music Theatre, where his teachers encouraged him to develop his theatrical talents. For years, Clive saw his future in martial arts but when he was accepted by the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, he saw how he could indulge his passion for fighting styles without having to get beaten up for a living. A lifelong fan of Errol Flynn, Clive went on to attain an advanced gold certificate in sword fighting from the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat. </p><p>Clive's first TV role was on BBC's crime thriller series "Waking The Dead" in 2004. The following year, he appeared on the BBC soap opera "Doctors" and in the acclaimed TV movie "Tom Brown's Schooldays." Clive then went on to appear in the British romantic comedy movie "Heroes and Villains" (2006) and the mainstream Bollywood production "Namastey London" in 2007. That same year Clive also played the lead role of Major Alan Marshall in "Zero Hour," a TV dramatization of the Sierra Leone SAS mission Operation Barras.</p><p>Clive first caught the eye of many TV viewers after he appeared in a recurring role as a UNIT soldier, Private Harris, opposite David Tennant in "Dr. Who" in 2008. Impressed by his screen presence, the BBC went on to cast Clive in the major role of Archer in their popular "Robin Hood" series the following year. Clive's performance as Robin's half-brother was so impressive that many critics and fans speculated that his character would be spun off into his own series following the show's conclusion. Though that did not happen, Clive's seemingly effortless sword-fighting skills went on to serve him well when he joined Arthur's round table in the regular role of Sir Gawain in Starz's "Camelot" in 2011. </p><p>Clive held onto his sword but swapped his chivalry for ferocity when he was cast as Rollo in The History Channel's "Vikings" series in 2013. An obvious choice when it came to looking for muscular swordsmen with leading man good looks and acting ability to boot, Clive was also cast in a lead role in the British-set Viking movie "Hammer of The Gods" in 2013. </p>
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
King Edward VII School Melton Mowbray
Melton Mowbray College
Clive's first paid job was performing in a Robin Hood stunt show in Sherwood Forest at the age of 12
In his teens, Clive was an international Muay Thai boxer.