He was famed as this strong, athletic, ferocious warrior. He was kind of a Viking celebrity of his era, Conor McGregor, if you will
Suter’s character is pretty much the polar opposite of co-star Sam Corlett’s character explorer Leif Eriksson. Suter said the opposition between the two provides for a “yin and yang element” in the show. This energy mirrored another famous movie from a different era.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was a reference that [series creator] Jeb [Stuart] threw out to us, which was really helpful. So yeah, there’s calmness and quietness to Leif — in contrast to Harald. He’s brash, and he sometimes sees red.
He also revealed that before taking the role he had never had any fight training before as an actor.
We had sort of a crash course in sword fighting and axe wielding and shield holding. Then it’s this violent dance that they teach you, and they are very patient. You’ve got to be fit as a fiddle because the fights, you don’t just film them once. You film them again and again, being aerobically up to it is a challenge. The real thing would have been absolutely exhausting.
And like McGregor, Suter’s character is seemingly always covered in blood after a fight.
It comes with the territory. Like you see on the makeup truck, there’s gallons and gallons of this stuff. The makeup artist applies it very liberally. … Everyone is going for it, and the adrenaline is pumping, and it’s super exciting, and the fake blood is sort of the cherry on the top. It feels very real, actually.
It probably helps that the show is filmed in McGregor’s home country of Ireland too. Suter explained that he absolutely loved his time there.
I had not spent much time there before, and it’s incredible. The people are generous and have a great sense of humor. The landscape is extraordinary. I was able to go on road trips on the weekends on the west coast to go camping, go hiking. As with everyone over the past two years, I think people have rediscovered the importance of being outside and green space. The island is that on crack. It’s an expanse of green and hills and coastlines, and it’s spectacular.
Vikings: Valhalla is currently streaming on Netflix.