If you haven’t watched History Channel’s Vikings, you should probably do yourself a favor, stop reading this article right now and go watch it. The writing is fantastic, the sets and locations are unbelievable, and the acting is phenomenal. And Alex Høgh Andersen is no exception.
Alex joined the cast in season 4 playing the adult version of Ivar the Boneless, who could be the most famous Viking in history. Both in history and in the show, Ivar is ruthless and cunning. As a fan, watching Alex bring Ivar to life has been a treat.
Growing up in Denmark, Alex fell in love with acting and studied drama throughout his childhood. He continued his learning at the University of Copenhagen, before dropping out to portray Ivar. He has appeared in various Danish television shows and film projects, but Vikings is Alex’s Hollywood debut.
We had the pleasure of asking Alex a few questions about portraying Ivar, his love of photography, and much more!
Vikings is one of my favorite shows on TV right now, and the premiere was incredible! You filmed that nearly a year ago, right? How does it feel to finally show it to the public?
It feels amazing, but it’s almost a challenge to do interviews! It’s so hard to remember everything that has happened when it was over a year ago and have 20 additional finished episodes. The great feedback from the fans makes all the hard work, and the wait, worth it! I’m really just excited to see it!
The scene between Ivar and Floki in the premiere was so heart-wrenching. I most definitely started crying when Ivar said “My heart is broken.” What was it like filming that scene?
It’s always great to shoot with Gustaf Skarsgård. I absolutely love that dude. He’s probably my favorite character on the show and it’s always a pleasure to work with such an amazing actor. The setting was great, the scene very dramatic and honest, and a great moment for Ivar to show how much more broken he is on the inside than on the outside – and that says a lot. Those vulnerable scenes are probably my favorite ones to shoot.
Ivar is such an amazingly complex character, and you play him brilliantly. What is your favorite thing about him to play, and what’s your least favorite?
Well as I mentioned before, the scenes in which he’s being honest and vulnerable – and not acting all tough – I really enjoy to shoot, because those scenes balance him out as a character. They keep him multi-dimensional so to speak. Ivar can be a mean little prick, sometimes waaaay too mean, but if the audience understands why he’s acting the way he does, it’s easier to forgive him. I’ve always seen him as a sad and broken kid on the inside and outside. I hope that perception has translated to the fans.
You seem like a very happy, smiley person, which is kind of the opposite of Ivar. Does that make it hard to get into character day after day?
Haha, no not at all. I’m pretending for a living. Ivar pretends to be somebody else all the time too, like every other human being. I’m not a big fan of method acting, and frankly if I used that method to portray Ivar the Boneless, my days at work would be A LOT tougher to get through. And they are already pretty challenging.
How much weapons training did you have before coming to the show? Was it hard to learn to fight with only your upper body?
I sadly haven’t gotten to do much fighting except the training scene with all of the brothers in Episode 4.11. Ivar is the strategist organizing the battle, he’s never really in them. I don’t think he would be to much use on a battlefield, but only having your upper body to work with is always a challenge. Mainly because it’s so limiting and far away from yourself. But that’s also where my work gets really interesting. Every day at work is always a great learning experience.
Are we the only ones that can hear this picture? pic.twitter.com/xmTvh2J5KE
— #Vikings (@HistoryVikings) October 16, 2017
In October Vikings tweeted a picture of you with Ivar’s chariot, and you jokingly said you listened to Katy Perry as your hype song. Do you use music a lot when preparing for scenes?
My hype song to get ready for this scene was Katy Perry's "Roar". https://t.co/cZLaWlq2QB
— Alex Høgh Andersen (@alex_h_andersen) October 26, 2017
HA! Katy Perry is probably the last thing you wanna listen to before you’re going to shoot a scene in which you kill a lot of Saxons in sub-zero temperatures under a massive rain machine. Jokes aside, music is actually a good tool to help you get in the right mood. I’ve used it a few times when I had to shoot some heavy and emotional scenes.
San Diego Comic Con is one of the funnest experiences I have had in my life. I can’t imagine what it was like going with the show. How was your SDCC experience? Would you consider coming to other conventions to meet fans?
I loved SDCC. Very overwhelming to actually meet the fans face to face and experience their appreciation for our work. It really made all the hard work worth it. I’ll never forget that experience – it was completely mental. I could easily be convinced to attend other conventions even though it was almost a bit too overwhelming and a bit scary at SDCC. I was extremely nervous, but had a phenomenal experience.
I really enjoy your photography. What originally drew you to the camera?
I think I’ve just always been very creative and photography is another way for me to channel that. Photography is about communicating and creating moments, just like acting, so it’s not that far away from my passion. I couldn’t really live without it. It’s like therapy.
If you could go anywhere in the world, specifically to take pictures, where would you want to go?
Oh, that list is long. People, culture and nature are important factors to determine where I’m heading. Uganda, Amazonas, Iceland, native tribes in USA, are a few of the thousand places I want to go.
Lastly, our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, and we like to ask everyone what do you nerd out about?
Film and photography. I studied Film and Media before I got the part on Vikings, which forced me to drop out. So I’m a big fan of the German and Russian silent films from the 20’s, the new waves, new cinema in the 70’s in USA, etc. I’m a massive fan of sci-fi, and I’m absolutely stoked about the new Star Wars film.
Catch Alex on History Channel’s Vikings Wednesday nights at 9/8c!
Photo Credit: Ryan West