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Clive Standen, Rollo On 'Vikings,' Talks Season 3 And Upcoming Rivalries

02/18/2015 01:26 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 01:59 EST
History

For two seasons on Canadian series "Vikings," Rollo has gotten the short end of the stick; over and over again, he is forced to live in his brother Ragnar's (Travis Fimmel) shadow.

That rivalry will continue in Season 3, according to Rollo portrayer Clive Standen, who had a brief stop in Toronto recently to promote the historical drama.

Huffington Post Canada caught up with the 33-year-old actor to talk about what's in store for Rollo when the dark, sexy show returns this Thursday to History.

HuffPost Canada: How is the rivalry between Rollo and Ragnar in Season 3?

Clive Standen: By the end of the season, Rollo can't walk and his relationship with Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) was in tatters. She's sleeping with the King and his son while telling Rollo that she's doing it for him. So in Season 3, Rollo has gotten to the point where he tries so hard: every time Rollo makes a mistake he always tries to learn from it, he always tries to pick himself up. But he always seems to let people down and he doesn't know why. He's trying so hard to be someone that he's not. He's second-guessing Ragnor all the time. Every time Ragnor says something that Rollo doesn't agree with, he has to almost think twice before he speaks, because he doesn't want to say the wrong thing and fall down in Ragnor's opinion again. He's forgotten who he is, and we all know people in life who've done that.

Rollo gets to see the Seer this season. What can you tell us about that?

He goes to see the Seer in Episode 5 and it's the first time Rollo's been to see the Seer on the show. He says a few things to him. Rollo is so lost and so close to suicide, in my opinion. I always think there's also a physical pain that he feels when he goes berserk and takes the mushrooms and goes to battle in this red rage. It's all he knows, that form of physical pain, the fighting. That's what he's been brought up with. He says himself he's born to raid and fight. That's him again running away from his feelings. It's a form of self-harm; he's trying to avoid the emotional pain that he's going through. So when the Seer says things to Rollo, I think for the first time Rollo actually embraces who he is and suddenly it alters his whole outlook on life.

How so?

He finds that maybe his ambitions lie elsewhere -- maybe his brother isn't the obstacle between him and his ambitions. And his hatred, his disgust at himself and towards Ragnor has been misplaced all this time. We see that in Season 2, he's trying his best to service Ragnor and at the beginning of Season 3 he's going, 'I'm happy to just stay here, live here, work under my brother and almost have to apologize for the rest of my life and my actions.' He realizes he doesn't need to do this. He can work in tandem. His brother can bring him this prophecy that the Seer almost promises him.

Is that the start of fictional Rollo living up to his historical alter-ego?

Some monumental things happen before Episode 5 for Rollo. One thing involves Kevin Durand's character, Harbard. Harbard comes to town when everybody's away fighting in Wessex. The actions that Harbard takes towards the people in Kattegat have a knock on nearly every major character, and a big effect on Rollo when he returns. So there's a lot of events that lead up to Episode 5. It's almost like everything that Rollo has ever done comes back to bite him in the ass all in one day. He just doesn't understand why everyone hates him so much. Why he's such a supreme f**k up? Yet everyone worships his brother. It's going back to living in his brother's shadow.

Do you think part of his attraction to Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) comes from living in that shadow?

Way back in Season 1, you figured he's hitting on his brother's wife. But the way she acts it's like he's not just chancing it, there's a history there. Or is there? It's not really spoken about again. In Season 3, maybe you'll find out there was a relationship between Lagertha and Rollo before Ragnar came along, and that's partly why he resents his brother so much. Did he steal the love of his life? Or did she feel that way at all? Was it all in his head?

There's definitely something there and I think that's the quality of the writing. Michael Hirst puts in these little things and knows exactly what he's going to do with it. Is that a red herring? What am I going to do with this? I'm always building my back story and when I work with other writers, it can be frustrating because you put emphasis on this one thing and it never comes back again. But with Michael you can trust him because it's there for a reason. If it's not important, he'd cut it.

Does that mean we could revisit Rollo's baptism in Season 3?

Rollo being baptized might not ultimately affect Rollo in Season 3, but Floki's (Gustaf Skarsgård) never going to forget it. Those kinds of things mean a lot to Floki. You don't take the Gods lightly -- even as Rollo said it was a bit of a joke and he was just playing it for laughs. I think he did it because he's quite clever, so he decides to get baptized thinking this is going to give him a special relationship with the King of England. But Rollo, he doesn't think things through, he rushes into decisions and then Floki judges him for it. It's still my favourite episode.

"Vikings" returns Thursday, February 19 at 10 p.m. ET on History.

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