Clive Standen visited FanExpo Canada with HISTORY in September 2016, and while he was there he offered some interesting insights into Vikings and his character, Rollo, in an exclusive Q&A session.
In the first half of Season 4 we saw a lot of Rollo with Bjorn, and of Rollo’s departure from his old life Clive says: “I think there was nothing left for him in Kattegat. I think his early connection, or any chance of redemption, would be through Bjorn.”
This is particularly interesting to think about: that Rollo seeks some kind of redemption for his betrayal of his family and friends. As for what Clive believes finally drove Rollo away from Kattegat in the first place, he says, “When Siggy dies his whole life crumbles. Episode 5 when he has that fight with Bjorn, he wants to die, it’s close to suicide. It’s only the Seer that sort of brings him back from that void and gives him that one glimpse that maybe there’s a chance, that there’s some kind of destiny out there for you, but it doesn’t lie here, it lies in Paris.”
We’ve seen Rollo find a new destiny in his move to Paris, and the creation of a family there. One of Rollo’s biggest struggles has been with a lack of affection, a lack of people he could trust. Clive agrees with this, and says of Paris, “I don’t necessarily see it as a betrayal, I see it as he’s finally found, within Charles the King of Frankia, a father figure he’s never had. He’s got Princess Gisla, a woman who genuinely loves him and he cares for, and he has a whole group of people that are his people and accept him, and after he makes that grandiose effort to win their respect, then I feel this is his home now. So he’s not betraying anyone, he’s actually found his place, he’s found his people.”
Rollo is finally able to have people around him that he feels he belongs with, and yet one part of that never quite fits, and that’s the Viking part of him. He never fully assimilates into the Parisian way of life, as a part of him still feels the urge to be Viking.
In addition to the more serious insight into his role, Clive also joked about the change from long Viking hair to the shorter Parisian style, saying, “Well, in season 1, 2, and 3 it was my own hair with some hair extensions to make it thicker and longer; I had hair down to my boobs. But actually in season 4, in that transformation, I did a film in between and had to shave my head to be an American G.I, so I had to have a wig in Season 4. So actually, it didn’t feel as if it were me anyway and I felt like I looked like Fabio.” In short, Clive felt like the Viking version of Fabio, which is pretty hilarious if you ask us.
It’s always interesting to get insight into the characters we love, through the eyes of the artists that portray them. Clive knows Rollo in a way that nobody else does, and as such can offer the fans a different perspective on a complex and interesting character.
If you want to see more from Rollo, check out some of our other articles, and make sure to tune in to Vikings on Wednesdays on HISTORY.