Don’t call Vikings hunk Alexander Ludwig a heart-throb

Alexander Ludwig in Halong Bay, Vietnam.
Alexander Ludwig in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

After starring in the mega-hit movie The Hunger Games (2012), Canadian actor Alexander Ludwig could have let fame get to his head.

After all, the handsome 22-year-old became an overnight sensation after appearing in the film as show-stealing slick fighter Cato, the only real threat to the main protagonists played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson.

But the newly minted star was adamant on staying grounded, he says, even if he admittedly felt swayed by the glitz for a while.

"After The Hunger Games, you realise that you were part of something monstrous and that can really affect you. People treat you differently too.

"It takes you a while to remember why you're doing this. And it's because you love stories and making movies and that it shouldn't be for anything else."

Following The Hunger Games, he appeared in films such as war movie Lone Survivor (2013) and comedy Grown-Ups 2 (2013). His current role is in the acclaimed historical drama Vikings, his first television series.

He joins Season 2 as Bjorn Ironside, a formidable fighter and son of legendary Norse warriors Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick).

"It's nothing but exciting and inspiring for me to dive into the character and all of the intricacies," he says.

"I'm also a huge history buff and I know what happens to him historically and what lies ahead in the future, and it's exciting to play this guy and show the growth of the man that he becomes."

The actor, who grew up as a competitive skiier, certainly enjoys all the physical fight scenes that his character gets embroiled in.

But he emphasises that "the show really doesn't glamorise the fighting".

He adds: "It's very edgy and raw and it's not played up by any means. By the time the director says action, everyone forgets everything and you're swinging and trying not to get hit. Luckily, we have not suffered any serious injuries."

All that physical workout on Vikings and his sporting background mean he is pretty buff.

Do not mention the H-word to him, though.

"I don't want to be a heart-throb," he says. "I don't want to do that pop-y kind of stuff. It's just not who I am."

That did not stop the paparazzi from shooting shirtless pictures of him when he was on a beach vacation last year, however.

"It's shocking because when I was a kid, I never thought that one day, it could be as invasive as it is," he says.

Which is why he is so deliberately active on social media - so that he can showcase the real Alexander Ludwig. The actor's Instagram account has more than 222,000 followers and his Twitter account (both handles are @alexanderludwig) has in excess of 458,000 followers.

"You can show bits of who you really are and you can talk to your fans. I don't want to have some glorified image of myself out there. I want to be able to go on social media and post pictures of me just backpacking through Vietnam."