While fans of “Vikings” are mourning the death of Ragnar and star Travis Fimmel’s departure from the show, in this week’s season finale they’ll be celebrating the arrival of Jonathan Rhys Meyers, whose new character — warrior bishop Heahmund — will be a major part of the upcoming fifth season when it debuts later this year.
ET Canada’s Erin Cebula chatted with the former “Tudors” star on the “Vikings” set in Ireland, where he admitted that “Vikings” is “a very tough shoot, which is why it looks so realistic. If you think that somebody is cold, if you think somebody is hurt, if you think somebody is bruised up — it’s because they are!”
Rhys Meyers also tells Cebula that he’s never seen a single episode of the critically acclaimed History Canada hit — and says that’s beneficial for his role.
“I cannot know what is happening in the Viking world that I wouldn’t have known as Heahmund,” Meyers says, “because then I would get to know all the characters before I ever get to meet them. I have to do discover the Viking world within the series.”
Even more difficult than the harsh conditions, he admits, is that at the time the interview was conducted in November 2016, his wife Mara Lane was in California, just days away from giving birth to the couple’s first child, a son named Wolf.
“Incredibly difficult, yes, incredibly difficult,” is how he describes being apart from his wife at this crucial time. “But yeah, I look forward to meeting my son. Holding him high.”
As Meyers sees it, it’s all part and parcel of being a working actor. “Let’s get into the reality of what it’s like to be an actor,” he says. “Yes, you wanna take on roles that you love but at the same time you have to work because that’s the nature of life and my son and my wife are the most important things in the world.”
He adds: “Yes, it may be tough and it may be difficult on the side of a mountain, for me to play this role, or in any aspect… but when times get really, really tough, when times get hard and I’m really, really tired, I have to think about who I’m providing for.”
The season finale of “Vikings” airs Wednesday, Feb. 1 on History Canada at 9 p.m. ET/PT, plus you can also watch full episodes online.