this past week I added the photoshoot from the December issue of Interview Mag. today I bring you the interview itself.
In a lot of ways, Travis Fimmel is an easy person to talk to. He’s kind and polite, and quick to deflect the conversation back onto you: Where did you grow up? Did you like it? Would you go back permanently? When we meet in person on a rainy day in New York, he seems keen to keep an abnormal situation—an interview in which a stranger is asking you personal questions about your profession —as normal and reciprocal as possible.
The youngest of three boys, Fimmel grew up on a cattle farm in Australia, and lived in London for a while before settling in Los Angeles to become an actor. His early career had plenty of false starts, and he famously became a model in the early 2000s so he could extend his U.S. visa. Since he made his debut as Ragnar Lothbrook, the protagonist of Vikings, almost four years ago, however, things have been going very smoothly. In the past year, for example, he played a hapless hippy in Rebecca Miller’s screwball comedy Maggie’s Plan and starred in the video game adaptation Warcraft: The Beginning, which though a domestic disappointment grossed almost $400 million overseas. He just finished working with Chloë Sevigny and Steven Buscemi in Lean on Pete, the new film from 45 Years writer-director Andrew Haigh, and completed Finding Steve McQueen with Forest Whitaker and Lily Rabe. Next year, he will film Inversion opposite Samuel L. Jackson.
But Vikings is still the project everyone is buzzing about. It has long been suggested that, at some point, Ragnar’s sons will replace him in the main narrative, and, after April’s mid-season finale, it seemed like the time had come. When we left Ragnar seven months ago, he had been decimated in battle by his brother Rollo and had walked away from his kingdom. Now, however, Ragnar is back and keen for revenge.
EMMA BROWN: With Vikings, you’ve always said that Ragnar’s sons are going to do bigger and better things than him. Is that something that you talked about with the creator from the very beginning?
TRAVIS FIMMEL: In history they went on and did better things, but yeah, I was only meant to be on the show for a year. I was meant to die that last episode that first year, but I didn’t; I ended up being on it a bit longer. There are great young actors playing my sons. A lot of shows get very repetitive, but I think it’s great that the young kids are coming in. It just gives new life to the show—some cool characters for the audience to follow. I hope they really enjoy this season. The kids are great. I’m excited for the audience to see these young people doing amazing things.
BROWN: Murdering and pillaging.
FIMMEL: Yes. Plundering and making love to strangers.
BROWN: I hear you’ve got to watch out for Ivar the Boneless.