The cast and creator of History Channel’s “Vikings” gathered at the TV Academy Tuesday (May 13) for a panel discussion about the show, which included a number of stories from the set. What was the true highlight though, was the endless love the cast displayed for background actors that help bring “Vikings” to life.
“I always hated the word ‘background’ or ‘extra.’ We were like a family,” Donal Logue says. “When you get strapped into these costumes, you know you’re going out there for 12 or 13 hours. You’re out on a boat, there’s no coming in. We’re in it together.”
“The guys we use, they are in every scene,” Clive Standen adds. “When you see Kattegat and it’s working and there’s carthorses going by, there’s a blacksmith or a fishmonger. They’re the same guys. That guy will be employed to be the fishmonger and nearly every scene you’ll see him.”
Those background actors also take pride in their work. “My character ends up being a shieldmaiden and becomes an Earl at the end of Season 2,” Katheryn Winnick says. “I got this email from some of the female background actors that are taking their work so seriously to become a shieldmaiden, that they’re like ‘OK, what do I need?’ It’s so sweet to see how dedicated they are, even to be in the background.”
That dedication helps the cast to keep things in perspective, even when the elements they’re shooting in are less than pleasant. “When I finally stop whining about ‘God, it’s wet,’ There will always be one guy who never got into the heat tent, who didn’t get passed a coffee and he’s still there and this guy is smiling,” Gustaf Skarsgard says. “I gotta get over myself. We’re all there every day in the elements.”
The cast is currently preparing to reunite with the background actors in Ireland, where they will commence shooting Season 3 of “Vikings” soon.