Cursed, a Netflix fantasy drama starring Swedish actor Gustaf Skarsgard, was his most recent film. He played the infamous sorcerer Merlin, who served as an advisor to King Uther Pendragon of the castle of Camelot, in the Arthurian legend-based series.
In a July 2020 interview with Looper, the 40-year-old actor discussed his experience playing Merlin and how his previous role as Floki in the historical drama series Vikings helped him prepare for the role of Merlin.
Both of his parts in Cursed and Vikings shared a few characteristics, according to him: they were both physically strong, and their plotlines contained “a lot of horseback riding and fighting.”
“It’s a highly physical job for [Merlin].” There’s a lot of horseback riding and fighting and other stuff, so I’m glad I came prepared from my past Vikings experiences… On Vikings, I’d already done a lot of battling. “I didn’t have to spend a lot of time [training] for that,” Skarsgrd added.
The distinctions in presenting the two roles were also mentioned by the Westworld actor. He claimed that playing Merlin on Cursed was “a bit dryer of a drier experience” for him than playing Floki on Vikings because Merlin was more indoors.
“Floki spent a lot of time in muddy fields in Ireland, wearing leather clothes,” says the director. He continued, “It was a little dryer, a little more comfortable.”
Another similarity between the two roles is that both Cursed and Vikings are set in the United Kingdom’s ancient past or in Medieval England.
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Return of Skarsgrd as Floki in ‘Vikings’ Season 6B
In the series Vikings, Skarsgrd played eccentric shipbuilder Floki Vilgeroarson, who planned and built a new generation of ships for Viking warrior Ragnar Lothbrok’s journey over the ocean westward.
Without Floki’s assistance, Ragnar, the main protagonist of Vikings, would never have been able to realize his dreams of discovering new territories and civilizations.
Floki was also Ragnar’s (played by Travis Fimmel) best friend in the series. However, after seeing Floki struggle in an erupting volcanic tunnel in the season 5 finale, many fans assumed the erupting volcanic cave had taken his life.
Skarsgrd was later photographed on the set of Vikings season 6 – leading many to believe he might return early in the season. They were dismayed, however, when he was not seen in the first part of the sixth season.
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According to Michael Hirst, the show’s creator, this was all part of the plan. “That wasn’t the way that Floki was going to depart the show or leave life, indeed, because he represented the spirit of life,” Hirst told ET Online in December 2020.
Skarsgrd reprised his role as Floki in the second season of the show, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on December 4, 2020, much to the pleasure of fans. Part two of the sixth season was also the show’s final season.
[Spoiler alert]: Floki is seen sitting on the beach with Ubbe in the final scene of the Vikings, reflecting on his connection with Ragnar.
What’s Next for Alexander Skarsgrd?
Skarsgrd began his acting career in the late 1980s and has since been in a number of well-known films and television episodes, including Cursed, Vikings, Westworld, Kon-Tiki, The Way Back, 438 Days, and Evil.
His next project, according to IMDb, is a film called The Emigrants, in which he will play Karl-Oskar. If Cursed is renewed for another season, the actor is anticipated to reprise his role as Merlin in the second season. The chances are in your favor!