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Sam Corlett & Leo Suter On Playing Leif Eriksson & Harald Sigurdsson In Vikings: Valhalla – Exclusive Interview

You’re both playing these fairly well-known historical figures. In developing the characters, how much did you refer to what we know about the real people, which is a little spotty, and how much did you take artistic license?

Sam Corlett: For myself, it was very important to go back to the sagas and brush up on my history. I remember learning about it in high school. I remember where I was sitting in Mr. Gill’s history class, learning about Leif Erikson and Erik the Red. I dived into the books, but ultimately, I loved stripping it back and going to, “What are the similarities that I have with Leif, and where can I impart my experience of being a human in this world, and where can he impart his experience on me?” I think there’s a nice meeting when it comes to an actor and a character. Then, it was about telling a very human story about someone who’s trying to do their best for the people that they love.

What about you, Leo?

Leo Suter: Well, I really enjoy the part of the job, when you’re doing a historical show, to dive into a world that you otherwise might not know so much about. I really looked at the histories of those kings, of King Canute, of Olaf Haraldsson. One of the fun things is that Harald Hardrada was actually around a little bit later, so we’ve got some poetic license, and there’s a freedom with that, which is quite cool, because this is an origin story, and I think most people know Harald Hardrada for the end of his life and how he died at Stamford Bridge in 1066. We don’t actually know the story of how he got there, and to be able to dive into that and explore it has been very fun.

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