Interviews

Alexander Ludwig: M&F Interviews the Viking

The star of History's Vikings sat down with us to talk training, acting, and jamming on set with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Alexander Ludwig: The M&F Interview

Muscle & Fitness: You’re in a new movie called Go With Me alongside Anthony Hopkins and Ray Liotta. What can you tell us about it?

Alexander Ludwig: I’ve never been so excited to have a project come out. I'm so proud of it. The way the film was shot, it has this old western-type feel to it. It's a classic damsel-in-distress story about a girl returning to her hometown and becoming harassed by a sociopathic crime lord played by Ray Liotta. I play Nate, and he and Anthony Hopkins’ character help her to fight back. In the film, my character has a stutter, which really added another layer for me-there are so many more sides to a character than what you see on the surface.

M&F: What was it like working with Anthony Hopkins?

AL: Well, he’s Hollywood royalty, so it was a wonderful experience. He was fantastic. He took me under his wing and we became really close. All I needed to do on set was just watch him work and absorb as much as I could.

M&F: In Vikings you play Bjorn Lothbrok. What can we expect from Bjorn this season?

AL: This is the season I’ve been waiting for since the beginning! It’s going to be so amazing. He’s really come into his own in season 3. Earning the name Bjorn Ironside, because no one could touch him in battle. He and his father have a different relationship now, almost equals and at the end of this season there will be something amazing that happens between Bjorn and his father.

M&F: Has your workout changed from when you first began training for Vikings?

AL: In the past, I had to bulk up for the films like The Hunger Games, Lone Survivor, and of course for Vikings I do a lot of fight training, weightlifting and at one point I got so big! Then I had to take it off and now I’m much more about building lean muscle. I feel more comfortable with less weight on.

M&F: What’s your training like now to stay lean?

AL: Here’s a basic cardio routine I created with some modifications:

  1. I sprint 3 times at highest treadmill speed for 45 seconds with 15-second breaks in between.
  2. I jog at half that speed for 20 minutes
  3. I finish off by sprinting again: 4 times at highest treadmill speed for 45 seconds with 15 second breaks in between.

M&F: Do you stick to a specific diet even when you’re not filming?

AL: It’s not really about what I eat. It’s more about how much I eat. I’ll basically eat 6 meals a day—3 meals and 3 snacks and just try to be consistent with how many calories I’m taking in for the day. I try to stay under 2000 calories. Key word being TRY. It’s hard when you love food!

M&F: You’ve done competitive freestyle skiing, surfing, skydiving—I think it’s safe to say you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done so far?

AL: I definitely like extreme sports, but I don’t consider them crazy.  I recently backpacked in Japan, where I went skiing in the most epic powder of my life and then in my favorite new place Vietnam.  Oh, I did something called gorge diving. You basically jump off a platform and freefall before swinging up and down a canyon—like bungee jumping but you’re tied at the waist. It’s intense! I first did that in South Africa then again in Switzerland but in Switzerland they call it canyon jumping.

M&F: You’ve been a brand ambassador for RYU for a few years now and more recently became involved with BVLGARI. You probably get your fair share of endorsement offers. What made you decide on those?

AL: For RYU, besides loving their clothes myself and the quality, I like the way they make their products. I’m very passionate about their philosophy and contribution to the environment. It’s something I’m very interested in as well. I was honored to be asked to represent such a prestigious brand as Bvlgari.  I‘ve admired the brand and they’re involvement in humanitarian causes and recently attended a Save the Children event they held. It’s great to be a part of something like that.

M&F: In 2009, you did the movie, Race to Witch Mountain with Dwayne Johnson. Do you have any good stories from the set?

AL: He’s one of the best guys I know. He actually gave me his favorite guitar for my 16th birthday because we used to jam together on set. I will never forget that.

M&F: What are your upcoming projects?

AL: I have a film coming out called The Final Girls, starring Malin Akerman. It’s a comedy/thriller—very Rocky Horror Picture-esque about a girl who gets transported back into an 80's horror movie starring her own mother, a celebrated scream queen. Had a lot of fun making it!

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