Culture / History

‘The Crown’ in Viking Form?

LEO SUTER is the star of Netflix’s sequel to a series that formed a bastion of fans around Scandinavian history. He tells us what it was like to film the series on location in Ireland...

Leo Suter

Ireland… what can I say? It was a beautiful part of the world to film in. The people were very generous in spirit, with a fantastic sense of humour. It was the same landscape in which they’d filmed the original six series of Vikings (there’s a lake that has been used for a great many North Sea adventures!). I had my car there, so I could explore the west coast, which is staggeringly beautiful. I highly recommend the Wild Atlantic Way to anyone looking for an adventurous summer holiday. This series isn’t a straightforward sequel to Vikings, as it’s a hundred years down the line. There are nods to the past, and we mention the legends who’ve gone before us. But it’s a new saga with new faces… including mine. I play Harald Sigurdsson, who was later known as Harald Hardrada. We find him as an aspiring king of Norway, and he’s got to figure out how he’s going to get there.

I remember learning about him as a 10-year-old schoolboy. But we know him from his death at Stamford Bridge, which was a real turning point in English history. So, like most people, I knew about the end of his life, but I didn’t know about the story of how he got there. I enjoyed doing the homework and looking through the history books, discovering that he was a much-admired warrior in his lifetime, and a respected guard to the Emperor of Constantinople. He lived a really intriguing and extraordinary life, which made me more excited to join the project. I was lucky to get a few months before cameras rolled to read all the books out there about him. Harald was known for being big and broad, strong and athletic. It’s a part of the character that he’s a force of nature, so I had to work out too. Anyway, season one is out, season two is filmed and we’re going back to Ireland soon to film season three. I’m very excited to get back out there!

LEO SUTER stars in Vikings: Valhalla, available now on Netflix.

This article is based on an interview for Nordic Style Magazine.

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