Up and close with actor Jordan Smith from Vikings

by February 9, 2019 0 comments

A sword ballet - Jordan SmithQ. The cast is made up of people from different nationalities. The brothers come from different backgrounds and cultures. Is that a challenge?

I wouldn’t say a challenge. It’s actually quite fun. When we first started filming together, we all lived very close to each other. We were in the same apartment block, just next door. You learn where everyone is from and I have been fortunate enough to get to travel with them to their homes. I’ve been to Denmark with the boys four times now. When you go on holiday to a place, you only get to see the surface. When you’re with people from that country, you get to meet their families and get to know their traditions. The Danish forget that I don’t speak their language. You get so comfortable with each other, you forget that we are from different countries. You get to see a deeper side of each other’s culture, which is a really good thing. It’s the best part about being on set with people from different backgrounds.

Seeing the amount of fighting going on, do you ever get hurt?

Sometimes. Mistakes are a part of life. We practice a lot. There’s a big fight in season five between one person and me where they made me look about eight foot tall. It’s the biggest fight I’ve ever done in my life. We trained for six weeks, four days a week, for it. It took us a day and a half to shoot, and when it made it on screen, it’s about three minutes long. It starts out quite epic, and then gets really tight and personal. That day I had bruised ribs and a black eye. He punched me twice in the jaw. You try your hardest and the stunt guys are very professional. Their main goal is safety, but once you get into it and you get a bit restless, things start to slip up.

What training do you have to do for these fight scenes?

You start really broad, and then you get into the finer details. Practicing in a stunt shed and in a swamp of mud, with dirt in your eyes, you start to get into character. But it’s important for an actor to remember that looking good, and looking real are two completely different things. You don’t need to be in full force. It’s like a dance routine. It’s a sword ballet, pretty much.

All the brothers were quite close in the beginning. Now they have all split up and have chosen separate sides, will we ever see that brotherhood come back together again?

I actually think about this all the time. Every time we read the script, we always want to ask Michael, “Do we get back together?” I think especially with Ivar, everybody has completely different ideas of just how the world should be. Ivar and Ubbe can’t sit in the same room together. When they are in the same room, it never ends well. Hvitserk is torn between the two. He can have an understanding with both Ivar and Ubbe.

Does Ubbe eventually choose a side?

I think he’ll always be in the middle. I think it’s just his part. He keeps going between the two. There’s that rivalry between Bjorn and Ubbe because Bjorn is sort of the rightful person to take over Ragnar’s place. Ubbe doesn’t have an ego like the rest of the brothers do.

Do you think that Ubbe would ever forgive Lagertha for killing his mother?

I had problems with this when I first read the script. I was really struggling to wrap my head around it because he was such a family guy from the start. I think in order to move forward with the Vikings, you have to adapt to their modern society. He understands that he needs both Lagertha and Bjorn. He doesn’t forgive her, but I think he understands that keeping her as an ally will have a much better outcome rather than going against her. If he goes against her, she’s going to die. But he knows they can use each other to achieve something much bigger and better.

How has Ubbe developed in season 5? Do you think he will carry on Ragnar’s legacy?

Yeah, that’s exactly how he describes it. Ragnar wanted something bigger and better for the show. In the first year, he wanted to sail west. He knew that something was going to be a cut above, whether it was England or beyond. It’s not all about the raping, pillaging and the killing. We can have a mutual understanding with people in other countries to make the Vikings better. He doesn’t know where he’s going, or how he’s going to do it, but he’s got a much greater idea to guide the show into the future rather than taking himself there. It’s not about putting Ubbe in the history books. It’s about putting the Vikings in history books.

Did you study Travis? Are there certain quirks that you portray?

Yes, absolutely. You take on little twitches, and the way that you move, things like that. When your father is Ragnar Lothbrok, you have to take on some of his characteristics. We all do in a certain way. We’ve all picked up little bits from Floki and Ragnar. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been told I look like Travis quite a lot. We look very similar. He’s a lot more handsome than I am, but we look close enough. I don’t think you can have a father figure like him and not pick up his characteristics.

Does it happen often that you get a chance to change your lines or discuss it with Michael?

When I first started, I tried to just let it go and do my thing. Michael is writing the show by himself. I mean, sometimes he’s writing 20 character storylines all at once. So I ask him, “How about if Ubbe goes this way?” Sometimes he says yes. Sometimes he’ll write back a very nice email that means “no”, but he doesn’t say no. (Laughs)

How did you react to Alex dragging himself on the ground?

Alex is such a character. I feel like I’m just walking nicely, but he’s got the walk, and he’s so good at it. How he does it on his wrists, I’m not sure. He’s like a full on character rolling next to you. How Alex managed to drag himself around for the past two years is amazing. It just looks so good on screen when he does it. There’s a great scene where we are in a church in England. I just remember watching the monitor of him walking through and it was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. It’s great for the character.

What would you say would be the scariest thing that happened on the set throughout filming?

It’s not that scary. The stunt people put in a lot of effort to keep us safe. There was one scene that’s coming up in 5B where quite a few people are set on fire which is quite scary to watch. It’s such a timed process. I was more scared for them than I am for me. Because sometimes you don’t even get to know if it’s all going according to plan or not.

What was the most difficult thing for you to do for this show?

The most difficult part of the show is the longevity. Over all, you’re here for a very long time. It can take two and a half months to shoot a scene. Trying to keep the continuity and the spark going all the way through it can be hard, especially when you’ve got time off. Trying to get back into it after being gone for two weeks is difficult, but once you get back on set for an hour, it comes back to you.

How long do you spend here shooting?

Between eight or nine months. It’s a long time away from your family. You become a family here, to be honest. This island becomes your home. It’s a big country, but Dublin’s such a small town. When we go out we know people in the coffee shops, the restaurants. You start to know people around your area. It’s strange when you leave for Christmas, when you say goodbye to everyone for three months. It’s like we live in two different worlds.

Courtesy: The Pioneer

Writer: Team Viva

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