VIKINGS Alex Høgh Andersen Reveals His Greatest Challenge With Ivar

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WARNING! Minor Spoilers for Vikings Season Five.

Leading up to the Vikings season five premiere, we will be featuring articles on our interview with Alex Høgh Andersen, who plays the truly fearsome, Ivar the Boneless. In this article, Alex explains his efforts to humanize Ivar with fans. This is no small task after his character’s surprising outburst which resulted in the death of his own brother, Sigurd, at the end of season four.

Alex is very forthright about the challenges he faces with Ivar. His highest aspiration with such an extreme and manipulative character is keeping him multifaceted. “He can easily become one-dimensional. My main objective is to keep [Ivar] balanced,” he says.

Both Alex and show creator Michael Hirst have spent a lot of time working out that balance together. “We are aware that we need [Ivar] to have these small scenes once in a while where we see the real human. Where he is not acting or manipulating people.”

One of the ways they have worked out this vulnerability with this son of Ragnar is very physical. “It is very important to me to keep him in a crawling mode as much as possible,” Alex says. “Every time we see him crawl, it’s a constant reminder of what he’s been through and what he deals with on a daily basis. It’s hard for people to fathom what he’s been through. It’s hard for me and I’m playing the dude.”

Portraying all sides of Ivar on screen, including the vulnerable, broken side, is important to Alex.

“What my heart really longs for as an actor are the vulnerable scenes where he is alone in a room,” Alex says. “With Ivar, you see that most of it is an act because he is so controlled on the outside. That is what people are when they are very broken on the inside. He will always, always be vulnerable. I will always do my best to show that. It is the most important thing of what I do with this character. On the outside [Ivar] is a controlled maniac but on the inside he’s a poor boy. So for me I’ve never had trouble having sympathy for him. If I ever lose that, I think the audience will as well. I will always have sympathy for him.”

Despite his character’s obvious shortcomings Alex has much respect for Ivar. “He’s brilliant. People know that he has his flaws and he knows that he has his flaws. But when he shows up on the day of battle when everyone’s life is at stake, he’s the one organizing the whole thing. Actions speak louder than words. Some are good and some are so very, very bad. But I think you also have to remember that this is in the Viking era where death is a way bigger part of life.”

Vikings season five premieres Wednesday, November 29 only on History. Join with us ( @nicegirlstv & @PxlWvr) as we live tweet during season. Need more Vikings? Check out other articles featuring Alex Høgh Andersen. For all our Vikings coverage click here!

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