Travis Fimmel interview: "It’s not fun reading books most of the time"

Travis Fimmel

The Aussie actor on being a simple farm boy, mastering English, and why the Vikings were "pretty harsh"

Do you think Vikings have been given 
an unfair reputation? Gosh, for sure they were pretty harsh people, mate. It’s our job as actors to make people relate and give reasons for why they did pretty terrible things. 

Starring in a show called Vikings, do you find yourself having to defend their behaviour all the time? Most people think they’re righteous in whatever they do. The Scandinavian landscape is pretty sparse. It’s hard to grow stuff so they’re trying to find better lands to crop and farm – and to kill people, I guess.

Do you think Vikings is educational? Many of the characters are based on true people and there are plenty of facts. It’s a more entertaining way of learning, for sure. It’s not that fun reading books most of the time.

Your character, Ragnar, was a real person, so you’ll know sooner or later your character is going to die after he’s thrown into a pit of snakes… But my children go on to do better things than Ragnar actually did. They go on to explore a lot more places and have a lot more battles – some amazing stuff. 

You sound almost proud. They avenge my death as well. Go get ’em, kids!

For some scenes you have to speak Norse. Was that easy to learn? It was very difficult. When we’re speaking Norse I’m pretty much making stuff up, to be honest. In one scene I had to speak Saxon, Norse and English. I had the English down but the other two got pretty confusing.

Have any Norsemen written to the show to complain? Luckily there aren’t many of them around. 

Would you have made a good Viking? I would have died pretty quick. In the TV world you get to live a bit longer, but all those fights – half the people died every time. But I like that way of life. Everyone should go out and get your own food.

What could we learn from the Vikings today? I’m pretty old-school. I’m not a big fan of all the technology but I always try to get permission for sex, though. I’m a farm boy so I like the simple way of life. 

Do you prefer that way of life to being an actor? I wish I was on the farm the whole time but there’s no money in it, mate. I’m doing this to make some money so I can get my own place up in the hills somewhere.

Has that always been your long-term plan? It was a short-term plan but this industry’s pretty hard. Now it’s a long-term plan. But it’s hard to get a girl to come and live with you in the middle of nowhere. 

Vikings series one is out on Blu-ray and DVD


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