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Dublin: 21°C Thursday 18 August 2022

How to land a gig on Vikings? Standing out from the horde is the only way

The queue for extras hopefuls stretched over a full block in Dublin today.


THEY CAME FROM the land of the ice and snow.

And from Cork…

It was Vikings audition time once again in Dublin this morning. The (mostly) bearded hordes descended on the city centre casting venue from early this morning in the hope of getting some screen time in the latest season of the epic historical drama.

Veterans and neophytes alike, they made for a diverse bunch – with Scandinavians, Croatians and hopefuls from even further afield all showing up to put their names down for extras gigs.

Despite the long line (it stretched a full block and around a corner at one stage) – those who had been through the process before were quick to reassure others it wouldn’t take all day.

v4 Archery teacher Joseph says getting a line in the show might well mean impending death. Source:

According to Joseph, who appeared in the series last year: ”It’s Quick. Basically you fill in a form, take a picture and that’s it.”

Once producers have your details, you have to wait until the week of the shoot before getting a call-up, he explains.

An archery teacher by trade, Joseph fulfilled more than a few roles in the History Channel series last year, including that of an Arab trader – but he said extras can’t be particularly choosy about what they’re asked to do.

Most of the time it doesn’t matter what you are cast as, because you are a blob in the background – or you are deep background and you’re not even a blob any more.

Not taking any chances 

Further up the queue and kitted out in full Norse regalia, Rolf from Germany was also returning for a second time. Life got in the way of his Viking ambitions last year, he explained – but he’s hoping for more screen time this time out.

“Yeah, I was working a few days for them last year. Unfortunately then I got a full time job.

I hope this won’t happen again.

v3 Rolf. He's taken a few steps to make sure casting agents can imagine him as a Viking. Source:

The process 

Casting notices that went up on Facebook and on lampposts around the city in recent weeks asked for adults of “all shapes and sizes” and (their caps) ALL RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS.

That said – this being Ireland, the majority lining up on Little Mary Street today fell firmly into the ‘white men with beards’ category.

Waiting at the door, Corkman Ollie said he was up out of bed at the crack of dawn to make his way to Dublin this morning.

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His qualifications? ”I’ve blonde hair and blue eyes… I’m actually of Danish descent.”

A few feet away Dubliner Ronnie Fogarty – a veteran of several historical dramas (Rebellion and Ripper Street, amongst others) – was hoping yet again to catch the eye of casting agents on the hunt for ‘character’.

“I always seem to be either a very poor man or a rough man,” he said with a smile, adding:

Of course, I’m not anything like that at all.

v2 "I always seem to be either a very poor man or a rough man." - Ronnie Fogarty Source:

Produced by the Wicklow-based Octagon Films, who also created Love/Hate and The Borgias, Vikings has been shot in studio and on location in Ireland since 2013 and is now entering production for its fifth season.

According to some of its tried-and-tested background stars – while fun, the filming process is often far from glamorous.

“Especially when it’s raining and cold in Ireland, then it’s long and tough,” Rolf told us (undermining his warrior appearance ever so slightly).

Apparently getting a line in the series, though more lucrative than simply filling up space in the background, can seriously hamper your future employment prospects, according to some final words of advice from Joseph.

People who talk out of turn in front of the Norse marauders have a habit of getting killed…

Yes.. Nothing is sure about your survival, if you are on camera for just one second.

Read: “Longest queue I’ve ever seen” – the search for 8,000 Vikings extras begins in Dublin

Read: TV series Vikings is looking for an insane number of Irish extras

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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