Katheryn Winnick played Ragnar’s (played by Travis Fimmel) first wife Lagertha in the History channel period drama Vikings. When the show initially started, she didn’t know her character would be on the show for this long and gather such a huge fan-base. In a recently uncovered interview from before the show even released, she mentioned how she went to “great lengths” to secure the role.
“I got the script from my agents and they told me that, since [series creator] Michael Hirst was overseas in the UK, he wasn’t taking any meetings, so I had to put myself on tape in my living room,” she recalled.
“So, I did that and I was really nervous about the accent since I’ve never dealt with a Scandinavian accent before.
“I worked with a dialect coach to try to get something down on tape. I knew that they were focusing on casting Ragnar, so I didn’t hear from them for a while,” added the actress.
At the start of the show, Ragnar was going to be the centre of the whole show, but after his death in season four, the focus shifted to his sons and other secondary characters.
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In her interview with Collider back in 2013, Winnick continued: “And then, when I was in Toronto shooting a TV show, I got a call from my agent saying that they wanted me to go in for another callback.
“Since it’s a Canadian/Irish co-production, I was working on the Canadian casting side of it, so I went in, in Toronto.
“I went to great lengths to try to do everything I could to get this role,” said the actress.
“I ended up actually going to a Halloween costume store and renting a costume to try to really embody what Vikings would wear for my screen test.”
In a more recent interview after the show reached its end and the death of her character, the actress commented: “I thought I was going to go a lot earlier, I’m not gonna lie,
“I definitely was ready to go earlier, only just because I think these are the Vikings times, the average life was maybe 40, and I was already pushing it with high 50s and 60s as a grandmother,” continued the actress.
In the interview with Collider, she recalled that Hirst “didn’t necessarily want me to go”.
“But there has to be a time where if I am gonna go, let’s write me something fantastic and amazing and I couldn’t ask for a better ending, ever.”
Recalling the time when she first joined the show, Winnick said: “I had an idea that I was going to be there for the long haul.
“I did not know that my character was going to last till the end.
“I think I had five or six days after I got hired to get on a plane and move my entire life to Ireland, and I prepared for it, I really did,” she said.
While unexpected, Winnick was happy she stayed on the show for as long as she did.
Vikings season 6, part 2 is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.