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Michael Hirst on why Jonathan Rhys Meyers is perfect for Vikings

Jonathan Rhys Myers is introduced tonight on Vikings as a new character and game changer

Are you ready for this week’s Season 4 finale of History’s Vikings?

In last week’s penultimate episode, The Great Army (or known by the Saxons of the time as “The Great Heathen Army”) made it to Wessex and made things awfully difficult for Prince Aethelwulf and the Saxons on the battlefield.

Tonight’s finale, titled The Reckoning, is a boiling point as several storylines come to a head.

When we spoke to Vikings creator and writer Michael Hirst in the early part of this current season, he gave us a tease of what the future holds for Season 5.

He was just finishing up the end of the fifth season (which we can hope is also 20 episodes split into two halves) and he was willing to share what lies beyond the horizon, specifically, who.

A new character is introduced in tonight’s finale, played by Jonathan Rhys Myers, the star of Hirst’s previous series, The Tudors.

We asked Hirst about his new role, and here’s what he had to say…

Monsters and Critics: Michael, you’re bringing Jonathan Rhys Meyers back into your life. Who does he play?

Michael Hirst: Yeah! He’s playing someone who became known as a warrior bishop. There were several in Anglo-Saxon times.

They were really the precursors to the Knights of Templar, because they were genuinely religious, learned, travelers…spiritual people.

Jonny (Jonathan Rhys Myers) plays Bishop Heahmund, a historical character who died in battle.

They were very clever, they were bishops and were the talk of the ecclesiastical tree.

They were also warriors, and formidable, frightening warriors. They were imbued with their faith.

M&C: What made you want to write for Rhys Meyers again — but in Vikings.

MH: Jonny, who I knew very well from Tudors, could play this extraordinarily intense warrior-bishop-figure, who’s also divided because he’s a centralist.

Heahmund embraces life totally, so he is committed to his god, his religion, and to his faith to eradicate the pagans but yet he lives in sin — he likes women.

In introducing the Knights of Templar, at least their antecedent, into Vikings, Jonny was just perfect, he was a great horseman, he’s very intense, he’s a charismatic actor.

That’s what we wanted. Bishop Heahmund is a very charismatic leader and warrior. So it’s great to work with Johnny again. He’s amazing. We see him right to the end and in Season 5.

##INTERVIEW ENDS##

That’s all we will say prior to tonight’s Season 4 finale, which you do not want to miss because it’s one that will leave you talking.

But it appears that for the Vikings who remain in England, Heahmund will be the next man to step up to the plate.

Tune in to the finale, The Reckoning, tonight at 9/8c on History.

Ernie Estrella is a TV and film critic. He is also a contributing editor at SyfyWire (formerly Blastr) and has also written for USA Today.
Ernie Estrella

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