Peter Franzen (King Harald) interview on his performance and role in Vikings 6B, experience of working in such a popular show, what can audiences expect in the last season and more.
The show is set to air exclusively on STARZPLAY (www.starzplay.com), the MENA region’s fastest-growing subscription video on demand service, on December 31, with all 10 episodes dropping on the service at the same time.
Q: Who do you play? Can you tell us about your character and how they have evolved over the course of the series and what fans can expect to see from your character this season?
Peter Franzen: I play King Harald Finehair. Harald’s character has had an interesting arc so far- starting in Season 4, by him boldly stating that he wants to become the King of all Norway. I have really enjoyed playing his ambition for power and how he has been persistent and patient in trying to reach his ultimate goal- to unite Norway under his rule. Like for many of the other characters, Harald’s storylines have been very tragic, although full of hope too. The way he understands the consequences of his actions has been thrilling to portray and especially the freedom given to build up those emotions within the drama, has been rewarding as an actor.
Now that Harald reached and perhaps lost his ultimate goal, of becoming a great ruler, his life still seems to lack something- love, of course. One of the major storylines for Harald.
The fans are welcome to expect that Harald may return with the same ambitions, perhaps even more dedicated in finding or getting the woman of his life, and of course, being the true pagan that he is- understanding which path the Gods want him to take.
Q: Tell me about working with Michael Hirst. What was your experience like with him? Did he tell you anything about how the series would end prior to you receiving the last script?
Peter: Working with Michael was like talking to a friend. His attitude towards us actors was warm and he gave us the opportunity to influence the character development with him.
He didn’t really tell me how the series would end, but perhaps one could understand something between the lines.
We did discuss about Harald’s last scene, though.
Q: There is so much pressure on creators and actors to stick the finale. Do you think fans will be satisfied with how the series wraps up? What do you hope that they take away from this last season and the series as a whole?
Peter: I’m sure that the fans already know that anything can happen to any of the characters, and it will.
I think that the last episodes of the Vikings will present- exciting- certainly bloody- but also tremendously deep character development and wraps up the series at a point, where the fans are in awe and wanting to see more.
Q: What are you going to miss the most about working on Vikings?
Peter: Of course, I miss seeing the whole Vikings family. The cast, crew, production, background actors… Ireland!
Q: What excites you and what do you think will excite audiences the most about this last season?
Peter: I am always excited to see how all the hard work, that has been poured into a production, turns out in a finished episode. Also, being a big fan of my fellow actors in Vikings, I’m excited to see their craft. The fans will surely be excited about the same thing, but also about the relentless beauty and quality of the production.
Q: Did you get to keep any mementos from set? If so what and why?
Peter: Yes, I did! After my last scene, I was given Harald’s shield. It was cleaned and the cast and crew had written their moving and funny messages & insults on it. It’s on the wall in my study.
Q: Looking back, what is the scene you’re most proud of in the whole series?
Peter: It’s sort of hard to rate those scenes, but I guess an actor feels proud about a scene where he has succeeded to show a rollercoaster of emotions through his character. I’ve had several scenes with that possibility, hopefully I managed to do so, but still I would like to say that I’m proud of my entrance scene as Harald, in Season 4. It was my first shooting day in the series and I was a bit overwhelmed about the magnitude and detail of everything. I really felt like stepping into the Great Hall of Kattegat and tried my best to become Harald. People accepted me as him, so in actually, I am more relieved than proud!
Q: What have you learned personally about working on this series for so many years?
Peter: That the thing I already knew is true everywhere: If it was easy- everybody would do it!
Meaning, I feel at home anywhere in the world, where people go to extremes in creating amazing stories and share a goal of making something meaningful and perhaps – legendary.
Q: What do you think it is about Vikings that has created such passionate fans across the globe?
Peter: Perhaps people have longed for an alternative way of thinking and the long-lost Nordic beliefs and ideas have brought a fresh breeze from the past. Although the history repeats itself, so maybe people have a sensation through their genes that they have experienced the series before!
I think that through the strong, passionate male and female characters the fans have an abundance of fates to attach themselves to and forget the now.