Alex Høgh Andersen on what’s coming up for Ivar on VIKINGS

Alex Høgh Andersen photographed by Ryan West

Following a season that found the Ragnar’s sons coming together with a common goal that ended with Sigurd’s brutal murder at the hands of his own brother, VIKINGS has started S5 with the pedal to the metal with no indication of letting up.  The show feels fresh and exciting, and it sounds like the best may be yet to come!

Ahead of tonight’s all new episode, called “The Plan,” I spent some time catching up with Ivar the Boneless himself, Alex Høgh Andersen, looking at Ivar’s emotions and previewing his upcoming journey.  Check it out!

How do you think Ivar has changed since you first started?
I think he has gotten both smarter and more determined, especially due to his trip to England with Ragnar and his explorations. He’s also gained experience leading the great Heathen army. Mentally he’s more confident, but emotionally the same mess, never feeling equal to his brothers and always trying to prove himself.

Do you think we’ll continue to see that progression – will he get harder?
Yes, so he’ll continue to challenge the audience. One moment you hate him, the next you feel sorry for him. That’s the beauty of his complicated character. In relation to what I mentioned before; he will get harder and harder because of his endless battle to not show he’s broken inside. I don’t think he’ll ever understand that it can be a strength to show yourself to be flawed and weak sometimes.

Do you think he truly has remorse for the terror he inflicts?
Yes, completely. I think he hates himself for all the terror he inflicts, especially when his feelings take over and act for him like with Sigurd. I also think there’s a part of him that really loves it, because he actually excels at it. No, he’s superior at it, and for once he doesn’t feel crippled when he’s inflicting them. It’s power.

With Floki gone, how does that impact Ivar?
With Ivar’s only true friend gone in a time when he needs his support the most, because of the massive responsibility leading the great heathen army along with the fact he just burned the bridge of brotherly love, it just doesn’t bode well. He’s going to even more dangerous now that he’s left alone by himself.

How do Ivar’s actions, specifically against Sigurd, inform his relationships with his remaining brothers going forward?
There’s a massive cliff between them. He can never undo what he did and it will never be forgiven. He knows that, and that’s probably why he’s so sad at Sigurd’s funeral. He already felt so alone and now he’ll be alone for the rest of his life. What he did was really, really stupid. Going forward you’ll see that the death of Sigurd has a major impact on the brothers’ relationship, decisions and emotions, especially toward each other.

How has it been to have Jonathan Rhys Meyers join the cast? It feels like he brings a completely different energy!
Jonnie is phenomenal to work with, very intense, and brings so much energy to the table! His character is so cool and a great counterpart to Ivar. They square up quite a bit and they’re very alike in terms of character; super religious, determined and progressive. I think you’ll see them develop a sense of mutual respect for one another in all the chaos.

I’ve heard people saying that this season is the biggest, and maybe best, so far. Why do you think that is?
Well that’s hard to say. I know in terms of production value, it’s the biggest we have done. I mean, every damn shot looks like it’s from a feature film. It’s absolutely amazing to be a part of. The audience will experience new worlds in Iceland and the Mediterranean. We also got some great new characters portrayed by crafty actors, and you’ll really see them develop and interact in very dramatic ways. Michael Hirst has done a great job. That’s really all it comes down to: the story. Nothing else really matters if the story you’re telling isn’t compelling.

Why are you telling people that now is the time to get involved with VIKINGS?
You should’ve always been involved with Vikings of course, but I think you should start from the beginning if you haven’t watched before. The authentic universe in this show is astonishing. Nevertheless, I have been told by fans that season 5 kinda feels like a new show, like a new era, because the torch has been passed on from Ragnar to his sons. No pressure, huh? So I guess you can get away with starting with season 5, but boy you’ll be missing out on some incredible and important stuff. I certainly do not recommend it.

Have you had a chance to work on anything else in your hiatus – anything new coming up?
Sadly, not yet. Now that we’re shooting 20 episodes per season, there is not much time to work on something else. I do have a few work-in-progress projects that I’m very excited about. I cannot wait to work on something completly different from Vikings because that’s definitely gonna be interesting and challenging… oh, and to be able to use my legs again!

VIKINGS airs at 9/8c on History.
Find Alex on Twitter here!