Vikings interview: Alex Høgh Andersen on Ivar’s next move, season 6 motives

Alex Høgh AndersenWednesday, December 4 is almost here, and with that it means the arrival of Vikings season 6 is almost upon us! At 9:00 p.m. Eastern, be prepared for more adventures, as well as more highs, and lows for Ragnar’s sons. There’s a new ruler in Kattegat, more battles brewing, and for Ivar the Boneless, he now finds himself in a very different situation then he was in during season 5. No longer is he a self-proclaimed god ruling over a city; now, he is on his own, making a journey to a new frontier in Russia. It’s a very different world for him, and maybe that is something that he can use to get a new perspective on himself and his past.

In our new interview with Alex Høgh Andersen, it seems as though the journey moving forward for Ivar will be an emotional one — to go along with all of the physical challenges he will endure. Check out what he had to say to CarterMatt below:

CarterMatt – Where are we going to see Ivar going into this season? What is his state of mind?

Alex Høgh Andersen – He’s a hurt man. I love that he got burned. I love that! In season 5 it was hard constantly having to defend a guy who was so horrible, who was that ruthless. I had a tough time shooting that because I truly believe that at his core, Ivar is just a little kid. He’s broken, probably more on the inside than he is on the outside. That’s where we are picking up in season 6. He’s finally understanding the consequences of his actions.

I believe when he arrives in Russia and he gets to know Prince Oleg that he will experience a mirror of himself. He will see himself and all the stuff that he’s done, but from the outside looking in rather than in the middle of the storm. When you are in the heat of the whole thing, you can forget to see things from a different perspective; now, he’s in a whole new country and with no power whatsoever. His life is in the hands of another dude and he’s had some time to reflect.

You mentioned some of your struggles playing such a ruthless character, especially at a time in season 5 when Ivar was harder to relate to. What are you looking for when playing him?

I’m finding some things. You know, I want to haul him into myself and give him a big heart (laughs). But no, you have to understand every single character you play and you have to have pieces of yourself in it. I get some of the stuff that he’s been going through. I understand misunderstood love. I understand loneliness. I understand having a tough time and being challenged and not believing in yourself. I think those are universal feelings that everyone understands and have experienced one way or another throughout their lives.

So when you have these moments when it’s hard to relate to Ivar, you need to have these singular moments where he’s sitting alone, looking at his legs, and looking at people doing whatever they want to do and being able to do it. It only takes a split-second for people to understand ‘he’s only trying to do a lot of this because he’s so small on the inside.’ We didn’t have a lot of those moments in season 5B. I hope we have more of those in season 6 because he has a chance to reflect on the things that he’s done. I think that is so important.

Ivar’s really fractured from his brothers — how is he feeling about these relationships? Is there any hope at all for a reconciliation?

It’s hard to see that hope now, right? I think it’s also the thing that is really going to hurt him. I don’t think he understood that he was throwing Hvitserk away. I think he thought he was testing him. He’s always had trust issues, but especially with his brothers. He was almost going with Ubbe to another place and leaving him. I don’t think he forgets stuff like that; I think he will always remember, maybe a little bit too much.

I think he’s now realizing how much it hurts to be even more lonely than he’s always been, but also, he’s used to it in a way. He’s always been lonely. I think it hits him, but he’s also a guy who makes it through every single thing. What hurts him the most is himself and how disappointed he is himself — his own failure and his loss. The killing of his own wife. That hurts him more than losing any of the brothers, because I don’t think he’s ever considered himself a true brother to them. It’s all the internal stuff that is killing him.

So after all of this, what does motivate him now?

He’s always motivated. He’s always been motivated to prove himself. Even when things were so dark that he shouldn’t be able to see out of that darkness. He will always try to perform and prove people wrong.

He has a plan. He knows the Eastern parts of Europe and he understands Russia and that they are old Vikings. He might be able to create something over there. He’s in deep water, he knows that, but he’s always motivated and has a plan. When those things combine for Ivar, it’s hard to stop him. He’ll figure something out.

Alex Høgh Andersen

Did the first part of the season offer you a chance to work with people who you haven’t before, or people who are new to the show?

Early on in season 6 I get to work a lot with Danila Kozlovsky, who plays Prince Oleg (pictured alongside Ivar above). That has been a treat, he’s phenomenal! He was great to be around and a true professional. English is not his first language and I know the struggles with that, but he was completely relaxed and full of confidence about his work. That is super important since we really don’t have time for anything else. Big shout-out to Danila! We had some great scenes and I think the audience is going to enjoy them.

One of the best things about Vikings, at least beyond the performances, are some of the battles. Can we expect some more epic ones this time?

I think every season we try to do a bigger battle than we’ve ever done. It’s like a checklist thing. I don’t know what Michael Hirst is thinking about, but he’s always like ‘let’s do a new record’ (laughs). Have you seen the trailer with all of the fire? That stuff was awesome.

Now that you’re done with Vikings, what have you taken away from the show? What do you use now in your career moving forward?

I was a boy when I got the show, and I consider myself a young man now. It’s been an amazing learning experience and I learned so much about my craft and what I wanted to do, how I want to work and how I want to work with people. How I want everyone to be involved for a group performance. I want a foundation where everyone is doing their best to raise up the group together. I have a much better understanding of what it takes. That’s what I’ve learned the most.

I’m currently in Prague shooting a big Danish Netflix feature film about the second World War. It’s a great experience and it’s going to be a ton of fun. There’s a lot of interesting stuff happening now.

Related News Check out some more insight all about Vikings and the new season coming up!

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