OK —Winnick: But I will tell you this: It was definitely my highlight of working on it. I asked Michael Hirst, I want three things out of my directorial debut: Give me a big event. Give me something epic and amazing. You will see that is actually in the trailers right now. So there is a big event. I wanted character-driven material that I can push the actors, my fellow costars, to new levels that the audience hasn t seen them do before. And I m happy to say that I definitely put Alexander Ludwig through the ringer. And even Marco and Jordan — Hvitserk and Ubbe. The third thing is just coming from a martial art background and doing my own stunts and being passionate about the fight choreography, I asked him for a big fight, a big epic battle, and you will see that as well.(Photo by Jonathan Hession and History)Now that you re facing the the tail end of your series, what will you miss most about your time on the show?Winnick: I don t miss getting into the costume hair and makeup, because that was always a process. We tried to get it down at the end. That wig was a challenge because we were shooting in high definition and you only get X amount of space to glue it on. Or even the prosthetics with the latex around the eyes — I have very sensitive skin, so the process was definitely a process.What I won t miss: The coffee in Ireland s not the best. I ll tell you that. They made instant coffee. Our craft table was pretty always kind of scarce, but it kept us lean. But yeah, the instant coffee I m not a huge fan of.What s coming up next for you? Winnick: I ve had a really busy year. Really excited to say that I ve done three projects, three different independent movies. There s an incredible script called Flag Day, written by Jez Butterworth (who just won the Tony for Ferryman), and Sean Penn directed and starred in. I play his wife, and our daughter is played by his real daughter, Dylan Penn. We ve got Regina King in this, you ve got Miles Teller, we have Josh Brolin. It was really an amazing experience on set to work with Sean, and especially becoming now a director myself — I just did a show on Netflix; I directed, Wu Assassins — but it s nice just to see him [work]. He s so accomplished and brilliant as a director and knows what it takes to get the performance out of you, but also aesthetically knows what is pleasing and what he wants. I wanted to really see him work and spend time with him on set and create something that hopefully people will realize how special it is, because I have a place in my heart for that as well. And to go through like three decades, we went through 60s, 70s, and 80s, and to have that physical change of — there s prosthetics, there s hair changes — It was a very interesting movie, and I m really passionate about that one. Great experience.I did a movie with Liam Neeson I just finished called Minuteman. I ve been a fan of his since back in the day, obviously, Taken and Schindler s List. He s also from Ireland. I played his daughter. That s coming out. And did a movie this summer also with Tommy Lee Jones and Aaron Eckhart, more of a conspiracy theory, written and directed by a female director, April Mullen, so it s nice to be able to support a female storyteller.(Photo by Jonathan Hession and History)Speaking of women in power, Lagertha has been such a huge influence on women because she s such a strong character. She s one of the most powerful women on television. How do you feel about portraying a character like that? What are some of the responses you ve gotten about being her from women?Winnick: I am still blown away when I meet fans that are diehard fans, and such loyal fans of Lagertha, just because it s — not just women and girls, it s men too that really look up to her, respect her, like her. So it s nice that it s reached both genders. But more importantly, it s also around the world. I ve been lucky enough to travel for the last few years. I was in India, I was in Brazil, I ve been in Argentina, Canada, and all over Europe, really, and all around in different cultures people from all around the world, not only recognize her and me, I guess, but they also really feel the same way, and then really feel that there s a part of them in Lagertha, or they look up to her, and that s been remarkable to see.Even in India, you can go to different villages and people, they live on their Netflix. And Philippines, people don t even have running water, but they all have cell phones and they watch Vikings on their cellphones. It was just amazing just to see how it can inspire people everywhere.It s a little strange when you see somebody, when they have your face tattooed on their bodies. That s a little surreal because I feel kind of uncomfortable with it just because it s like, Hey, you re stuck with me for life. No, but on one hand you can t ask for a bigger compliment than to have such loyal fans.On the flip side it s also made it hard to find projects that I m also as inspired, and work with writers that can write such a complex, strong, yet vulnerable character. It s been a challenge. I ve read a lot of scripts that I m not wanting to sign on to because I feel that the characters aren t — or the woman character is underwritten or their voice isn t as multi-dimensional as I would want it to be. And I think we still have a long way to go, and hopefully we encourage more female writers, female directors, and female producers to be able to tell those stories. Have the men do the same as well.(Photo by Bernard Walsh and History)Are you saying that Michael Hirst has ruined you for life?Winnick: I m just going to have be in a Michael Hirst movie for the rest of my life. How about that? Not really. Yeah. He set the bar really high, and I wouldn t want it any other way. Especially in TV when you re signing up for multiple months, if not years, of your life, you want to make sure there s a character you can really sink your teeth into and be inspired.I learned a lot from Lagertha. I really, truly did. And the truth of the matter is, if I was 100-percent honest with you, I ve yet to really say goodbye. I actually have a hard time watching it. I haven t been able to watch the episodes in this season. I prepared, obviously, as a director to watch certain ones, but as a whole, it s just so close to my heart still. And now that everybody knows that this season s finished, I think maybe next year I ll finally get a chance to sit down and binge-watch all of them, but it s still too fresh for me. It feels like you re saying goodbye to a big part of yourself and life. It s hard to say. You go through a mourning process a little bit because, as you know, the show ended.The fans are there mourning with you, but, you know, Valhalla. Winnick: To end on an up note, this season s been amazing. It s going to be surprising. It s definitely going to be a bunch of shockers, and the fans will not be disappointed. They re going to be ecstatic when they see this season.Vikings returns for its final season on Wednesday, December 4 at 9/8C on History.
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE ULTIMATE BINGE GUIDE NOW!So… much… damn… TV. Where… do… I… even… start? Ugh, fine… I guess I’ll just re-watch The Office again.World, we hear you. Call it the Golden Age of Television, the era of Peak TV, or any other grandiose-sounding thing, it is a moment of intense delight for the TV fan – all those awesome shows – but also, frequently, intense struggle. Because, well: all those awesome shows!We’re here to help. For more than two decades now, our trusty Tomatometer and Audience Scores have been there for you when choosing what to watch at the movies and at home; now, we’re continuing that mission with a brand-new book that will help you move through our saturated TV and streaming world like a Fresh-focused ninja. (And it will look very pretty on your coffee table, too.)The Ultimate Binge Guide is just that: a bingeable bucket list of the shows you need to see before you die. They’re the best shows; the most influential shows; the funniest and scariest and most tear-jerkiest shows; the game-changers and classics; and the shows that broke molds and pushed the form forward.They’re the shows you need to watch – period.The guide is broken down into 10 sections that speak to the genres of the series featured as well as their place in TV history. Each recommendation comes with a sharp and insightful write-up from a member of the Rotten Tomatoes editorial team and other great writers that explains why it’s a must-see; a select few get the deep-dive treatment. (Want to know, in delightful detail, how The Boys is revolutionizing superhero TV? We got you.)Our chapters include:Classics That Made the Molds (And Those That Broke Them): The Jeffersons, All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Get Smart, Cheers, Golden Girls, Happy Days…Tony, Walt, Don, and the Antiheroes We Loved and Hated: Oz, Mad Men, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Americans, Peaky Blinders, Ozark, The Shield, Boardwalk Empire, How To Get Away With Murder…Game-Changing Sitcoms and the Kings and Queens of Cringe: Insecure, Community, 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fleabag, Black-ish, Party Down, Veep, Catastrophe, Fresh Off the Boat, Tim and Eric, Schitt s Creek, Better Things, It s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Pen15, Freaks and Geeks, Broad City, Black Lady Sketch Show…Grown-Up Genre: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Star Trek, Watchmen, The Witcher, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Doctor Who…Mysteries and Mindf–ks: Twin Peaks, Lost, Sense8, Mr. Robot, Broadchurch, The Leftovers, Fargo, Top of the Lake, Killing Eve, Wilfred, True Detective, Hannibal, Mindhunter…Reality TV and Docuseries That Captured the Zeitgeist: The Last Dance, Making A Murderer, Planet Earth, RuPaul s Drag Race, Wild Wild Country, Queer Eye, The Jinx, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown…And many, many, more As well as guiding you through our era of Way Too Much Choice with expert recommendations, The Ultimate Binge Guide also offers a fascinating look at how TV has evolved, with sections of the book digging into the impact of major industry changes (the rise of HBO and Netflix, for example); introducing you to the super producers shaping the biggest hits of today, from Greg Berlanti to Shonda Rhimes; and exploring the rise of the “binge” and what it’s doing to our brains.The Ultimate Binge Guide is available November 30, 2021, as a hardcover or ebook. Pre-order your copy now. oRunning Press / Rotten Tomatoes