Actor Travis Fimmel discusses the monotony of milking cows, mortifying auditions and more in the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s The First Time.
The Vikings star grew up on a cattle farm in Australia, started helping out as soon as he was old enough, but quickly grew tired of the chores. “We would milk before school and after school, and I really hate milking cows — I did so much of it,” he quips. “For hours, and hours and hours, and it’s exactly the same thing over and over and over again.”
Less repetitive, though not necessarily more enjoyable for Fimmel is the audition process, which he says he’s never particularly enjoyed because he loathes performing in front of people. As a result, he tends to send in his auditions by tape, which is actually how he ended up landing the role of Ragnar Lothbrok on Vikings.
“I was in a friend’s kitchen, put myself on tape, and I think it was in one of the first two episodes, and it was me trying to wrangle a group of people together to go sailing with me,” Fimmel recalls, before cracking, “They had very bad taste and they hired me.”
Elsewhere, Fimmel discusses being awed by the enormous sets on Warcraft and being floored even more by the incredible catering (“They had a big budget so the food was just ridiculous”). He talks about meeting Ridley Scott, who hired him for the new HBO Max sci-fi series Raised by Wolves, and recounts the story of how he messed up a stunt he performed while making The Beast with Patrick Swayze.
“Patrick Swayze was driving and I had to hang out the window and shoot backward,” Fimmel recalls. “We rehearsed it once and I was going — I don’t know why you do it, but you do it — ‘bang bang bang’ when I was fake shooting because I didn’t have the blanks in. And we only had one chance [to do the stunt], because I was shooting people and they had squibs and everything… Anyway, they give me the gun with the blanks in it, they said action, and I was hanging out the window shooting behind us as Swayze was speeding off. The director pulled me over to the thing and he said, ‘You realize you’re going bang bang bang as you’re pulling the trigger? We can’t do it again, so you probably shouldn’t watch that episode.’”