From a media release:
HISTORY and Shaw Media announced today additional casting for the new scripted series, VIKINGS, including Travis Fimmel (The Beast, Baytown Outlaws) as Ragnar, the first great Viking leader, a man of both history and myth; Gustaf Skarsgard (The Way Back) as Floki, a close friend of Ragnar’s who is an eccentric jokester yet an inventive, creative boat-builder and Clive Standen (Camelot, Robin Hood) as Rollo, Ragnar’s excessive, cruel cousin. The series also welcomes two high-profile Canadian actresses. Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes, CSI: NY, Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights) has signed to play Siggy Earl Haraldson’s beautiful wife and Katheryn Winnick (Bones, Love and Other Drugs) will play Lagertha, Ragnar’s first wife and famous shield maiden who often fights alongside him.
Notable Canadian director Ken Girotti (Bomb Girls, Copper, Fairly Legal), has signed on to direct a number of episodes. He joins Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), who is set to direct episodes 1 – 3 of the series.
They join previously announced Golden Globe® Award winner and Emmy® Award nominated actor Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment, Usual Suspects, Millers Crossing), who will star as Earl Haraldson, the most important local ruler in Ragnar’s district, and George Blagden (Les Miserables, Wrath of the Titans), who will play Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England.
VIKINGS will be a series high on adventure, exploration, conflict, warfare and bloodshed – for these were extreme times – but, at its heart, it will also be a family saga. It follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok, a historical figure, and the greatest hero of his age – and the gripping sagas of Ragnar’s band of Viking brothers and his family – as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes.
Ragnar Lothbrok (Fimmel) is based upon the real-life Viking leader who literally exploded out of Scandinavia and onto the world stage in the 8th Century. A young Norwegian farmer with a wife and family, Ragnar is deeply frustrated by the unadventurous policies of his local chieftain, Earl Haraldson (Byrne), who continues to send his Vikings raiders east every summer, to the Baltic states and Russia, whose populations are as materially poor as themselves. Lagertha (Winnick) is the first wife of Ragnar’s and their marriage is a love-match. Ragnar was first attracted to Lagertha when she came to fight for a local Norwegian ruler against an invading Sweden. Floki (Skarsgard), based partly on the Norse god Loki, is an impish character and ship builder who designs and builds the prototype of the new generation of Viking ships which can sail across the open ocean but also up the shallowest of rivers. He is a design genius and he allows Ragnar to fulfill his dreams of sailing west and discovering new lands and new civilizations. Siggy (Gilsig) is Earl Haraldson’s beautiful wife and an enigmatic character. She performs her duties impeccably and with style, but she may not be completely loyal to her husband. Rollo (Standen) is Ragnar’s cousin and initially one of his closest friends, involved in his early raids. But soon becomes jealous of his fame and success.
Created and written by Michael Hirst – one of the premier historical story-tellers in the industry (Academy-Award winning film Elizabeth; and the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series The Tudors), Michael serves as Executive Producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000 (The Count of Monte Cristo; The Tudors), John Weber of Take 5 Productions (The Tudors; The Borgias), Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn (The Tudors; The Borgias) and Sheila Hockin (The Tudors; The Borgias).
VIKINGS is an international Irish/Canadian co-production being co-produced by World 2000 and Take 5 Productions. VIKINGS is produced in association with Shaw Media, and the series will air on History Television in Canada. HISTORY will broadcast in the United States and Nancy Dubuc, Dirk Hoogstra, and Julian P. Hobbs will serve as the executives on behalf of the channel. MGM Television will bring VIKINGS to the global audience, serving as the international distributor outside of Ireland and Canada.