Valhalla’s Bradley Freegard And Johannes Haukur Johannesson Describe King Canute’s Special Power – Exclusive
King Canute is a key figure in the story of the Netflix’s historical drama “Vikings: Valhalla.” When we meet him, he’s amassing an army to fight the English, who’ve earned his ire for massacring the Vikings in their country. On the surface, Canute’s goal is revenge, but it’s also so much more. The king is an ambitious man with plans to use the war to expand his kingdom.
However, before he can initiate the conflict, he has to convince the Vikings who adhere to the old pagan beliefs and the Vikings who have embraced the new Christian religion to fight together. Luckily, Bradley Freegard, the actor who plays him, makes Canute a brilliant speaker whose theatrical addresses inspire the Vikings at every stage of their war with England.
In an interview, Freegard spoke exclusively with Looper about Canute’s powers, and fellow actor Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (who plays Christian Viking Olaf) also commented on witnessing Freegard’s oratory abilities in person while filming “Vikings: Valhalla.”
A talent for bringing the Vikings together
Bradley Freegard said he enjoyed delivering Canute’s speeches and noted that he saw his character’s talent for talking as one of his special skills. “In ‘Vikings: Valhalla,’ one of [Canute’s] great powers really is that he is a good orator,” the actor observed, “and he has the ability to deliver a speech and to bring people together, to motivate and to get people on [the same] side to his way of thinking and get the job done.”
Although, ensuring he got Canute’s speeches exactly right meant Freegard had to deliver them over multiple takes. His co-star Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson claimed it was a joy to witness Freegard work. “We, in the cast, loved hearing Bradley deliver speeches because whenever he has a speech, we have to listen to it 20, 30 times each time,” Jóhannesson reminisced. “Between takes, you would have people doing imitations of Bradley and having fun with it. It was great fun. [Laughs]… Even when the camera wasn’t on Bradley, he would still be theatrical.”
Freegard initially seemed surprised to learn that his fellow actors were doing impressions of his grand speeches as King Canute, but he quickly realized who was truly responsible and set the record straight. “Jóhannes,” Freegard laughed. “It was just Jóhannes.”
The eight-episode first season of “Vikings: Valhalla” is now streaming on Netflix.