Johan recently starred in Northmen: A Viking Saga; it tells the tale of a group of Vikings in the ninth century who set sail for Britain, aiming to plunder the rich monasteries in the northern part of the island. But a storm smashes the ship to pieces on the rocks off the coast of Scotland, the only part of Britain without any Viking settlements. When the daughter of the Scottish King falls into their hands the Vikings see this as an opportunity to demand a large ransom. The King immediately sets his ‘wolfpack’ – a group of mercenaries well known for their savagery – on the Vikings.
The “Northmen” have to force their way through the rough highlands with the wolfpack close on their heels, a desperate race against time begins. A battle over life and death…
Johan was kind enough to chat with The Action Elite about the movie and you can read all about it below.
Northmen: A Viking Saga is your acting debut; why do you feel it was the right choice as your first feature?
When I read the script I really liked it, and I felt it could be a fun thing to try out. I’ve never really acted before, except in music videos, so I thought this would be a nice challenge for me.
Following on from that how did you get involved in the film? Did you know director Claudio Fäh beforehand?
I didn’t know Claudio beforehand. The reason I was asked to be in the film was that one of the writers, Bastian Zach, is a fan of Amon Amarth – the band I’m in, and apparently he wrote the character Valli with me in mind, so during the casting they said; why not ask him if he wants to do it, and so they did.
The film is action-packed; did you have to undergo any particular training for the role?
We had some pretty intense stunt training before doing the fight scenes, but apart from that I didn’t have to do anything special.
What kind of challenges did you face both physically and mentally with the film?
To be honest I wasn’t in great physical shape when I went down to South Africa to do the shoot. My stamina was terrible, but when you’re having fun I guess you get more energy so it worked out well anyways. It was pretty tough. Mentally it was easier. I know a lot about Vikings, and in any case I was basically playing my stage persona with a twist, so that wasn’t too hard. It was more difficult to get the timing right with the lines and to make them sound natural. Even though I speak English fluently it’s not my first language, so it took a bit of practice to get that right, but I had great help from all the other actors. Especially from James Norton.
I really liked the visual style of the film; how would you describe Claudio Fäh’s directorial style?
I don’t know much about directing, but I think Claudio really caught a perfect adventure/action feeling in this film. Claudio is a great guy and he gave all the actors tremendous support, but also he had his vision of what he wanted and he wouldn’t rest until he got it. I think he really got the most out of everybody in the crew, by being who he is.
Did the finished film turn out the way you expected when you first read the script? Anything cut that you wish had made the final product?
I think the film came out great, even though it’s slightly different from the script. From the top of my head I can’t think of anything that’s in the script that I miss, so I guess the answer is no.
Would you ever be interested in composing a score for a movie?
I think that would be a fantastic challenge for us as a band, and I’m pretty sure that the guys would love to do that if we got the question.
Do you have any other movie projects lined up?
Not at the moment, but who knows what the future holds.
Anchor Bay Entertainment will be releasing NORTHMEN – A VIKING SAGA in Theaters and Digital HD on July 31st. The film will be available on VOD and DVD/BD on August 11th.