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Here's an excerpt from the interview by Sally A. Edwards
Photography by Sarah J. Edwards
I could write a typical introduction about Travis Fimmel, drudging up old information about previous work, laced with objectification; but, there are too many versions of those out there – whether diluted or over-egged. Truth is, there’s a lot more to him, and – as you know, we’d rather not rely on “the internet machine” for facts. Instead, we want to bring you something fresh with a down-to-earth and realistic perspective – from the photo-shoot to the story.
The decision to feature Travis was purely instinctive and made before Vikings had officially landed in the UK. In this series – from Elizabeth and The Tudors’ Michael Hirst and boldly commissioned by the History Channel, he takes lead as Ragnar Lothbrok.
With all this in mind, I wanted to meet him with notes for a feature with a clean slate. We then collectively created a mix of interview and experiment. You’ll find out about the latter in Part II.
Now albeit, I tend not to have preconceived ideas about meeting people for BLAG; what happened would be almost entirely unexpected...
* * *
Travis calls himself ‘dumb’ at any given opportunity. I’ve been quietly and subtly testing this on him since we met and I can tell you, he isn’t. Along with some self-confessions below, he’s tactical and patient underneath the initial persona of practical joker – which for the record he has a pretty incredible portfolio of. A heads-up though: just watch your step. You see Travis is 6’ and as strong as an ox. I, on the other hand am not, and I spent much of our time together laughing and tutting at how often he managed to trip me up.
Luckily I kept my balance and even luckier I managed to divert – within about an inch, what could have been a disaster when he pushed me full force towards three people leaving a gathering – they didn’t notice a thing.
In addition, albeit we took our non-fussy approach, he hates all “that shit” as in being photographed and interviewed – which was almost our first impression. Yet fast forward a few weeks after we meet and he arranges to have one of his cast-mate: Robert Jefferson Hall’s on-set photographs from Season Two, sent over for us to consider running exclusively. “… because there are so many images from the first series out there, I wondered if perhaps you’d like something new.” We thought you’d like them too.
Prior to all this, Sarah and I picked up Travis at his hotel for the photo-shoot. We took a drive to one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland and a location for Vikings. As we arrived, we were warned we could be under attack by midges. Travis picked up a fern leaf and squashed it down, “This is what the locals use as repellant,” he said, walking towards me and applying it. “They don’t actually, let’s see if your sister falls for it,” he giggles under his breath. Sarah goes to pick some up, “No! He’s winding you up,” I shout over. So whilst Travis then got attacked in his hair, on his face and arms, Sarah too. I came away pretty much unscathed… The irony of it.
What are your thoughts on first impressions?
“I like meeting people. I like trying to sum them up quickly and I like to be surprised by people. Like your stupid wave in the car when you showed up.”
My what? [For the record, when we first arrived to meet Travis, I did greet him with a “London wave” as we politely call it – this was a reaction to a previous comment he made by phone.]
“When you showed up.”
Oh you saw it did you, even though you said you didn’t? [laughs] I couldn’t help that, sorry.
“I love meeting people.”
“Well, it’s good to meet good people anyway and funny people.”
Yeah, because I’ve always been… Sarah doesn’t really agree with this, but my first impression always comes back, like if there’s something a bit tricky about someone, they always end up tricky. Or if there’s something really cool about someone, they’re always cool.
“Oh yeah, always. That’s funny isn’t it? That is true. I agree with you.”
So with regards to that, do you think you’re a good judge of character?
Or are you quite up for getting in there and mingling, sort of sussing things out and checking people out – all in the name of research?
"[Laughs] I guess… I’m very judgmental actually, I’m not sure if I’m a good judge or not, I don’t know, most people are pretty… I don’t know, I always try to look for the good in people, but I do like messing with people’s heads. [laughs]”
[Laughs] You’ve just got to get them at the right moment. That’s all.
“Yeah, exactly. I always like to see how people react to things they weren’t expecting. You can tell a lot by the way people react to something you say that was a bit unconventional. Lots of people say they’re cool, but see if they’re really cool when you do something that’s awkward for them.”
The full interview and photoshoot appeared in BLAG Vol.3 Nø 4
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