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Tag Archive: Joan Bergin


Actor and Kansas City Royals baseball fan Paul Rudd stars in a new World War II movie premiering next month.  He plays real-life professional baseball Morris “Moe” Berg in this espionage thriller from director Ben Lewin (Please Stand By).  The movie adapts the true story of the catcher who became a World War II spy.  The Boston Red Sox player was a private figure when, in 1944, the U.S. government’s wartime intelligence agency enlisted his services.  His mission:  To go behind enemy lines in Europe to assassinate the Nazi’s chief nuclear scientist before the Germans develop an atomic bomb.  IFC Films is marketing the film as a high-stakes game of cat and mouse.

The film stars Rudd along with Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man, The Illusionist, The Amazing Spider-man 2), Mark Strong (The Imitation Game, Kingsman, Shazam!), Jeff Daniels (Good Night, Good Luck, Radio Days), Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA, Layer Cake), Tom Wilkinson (Valkyrie), Guy Pearce (Alien: Covenant, Iron Man 3), and Wonder Woman’s Queen Hippolyta, Connie Nielsen.  Adapted from a book The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg, by Nicholas Dawidoff, with a script by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, Thor: The Dark World), the film has a similar look and feel to other recent World War II espionage thrillers, like Tom Cruise’s Valkyrie and Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game. 

 

Production design is by Academy Award-winning designer Luciana Arrighi (Howard’s End, Remains of the Day).  Costumes were designed by Joan Bergin (The Prestige, In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot, Vikings).  Three-time Oscar winning composer Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit) created the musical score.

Here’s Paul Rudd starring in the trailer for The Catcher Was a Spy:

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Travis Fimmel as Ragnar and Alyssa Sutherland as Aslaug in Vikings

Expect more Viking intrigue and action, more Viking drama, and a realistic historical look at Viking life in Season Two of Vikings, premiering tonight at 9 p.m. Central/10 p.m. Eastern on the History Channel.  The series introduces new characters and shakes up the very fabric of the universe centered on the legendary Ragnar Lodbrok.  Based on Viking sagas and characters from Norse mythology, Vikings is a series filled with both political posturing, hand to hand combat, giant sailing vessels, and a realistic look at the Viking world.

Last week I interviewed series lead Travis Fimmel, who plays Ragnar, and series newcomer Alyssa Sutherland, who has a key role in Season Two as Aslaug, a princess who drives a wedge between Ragnar and his family.

Vikings Season 2

Fimmel sees his role as the Viking warrior as the best project he has yet taken on.  “It’s definitely my favorite.  It has a lot to do with Michael Hurst, who created [Vikings].”  He credits his positive experiences on Vikings to the crew for the show.  “The Irish people do a tremendous job.  They’re very talented and very efficient and really make the best of the budget we have.”

The series is filmed an hour south of Dublin, Ireland.  During filming Fimmel lived in the country on a lake near one of the Vikings sets.  Although he plays the leader of the Viking tribe, he sees himself as just one of the crew off the set.  “I don’t let them treat me any differently–We all make fun of each other… We all get on very well.”

As you’d expect, filming the epic Viking longboat scenes is as much fun as it appears.  “We had a lot of tremendous fun on the boats.  This year we go out on the ocean–and it’s just beautiful.  Beautiful landscape.  The boat stuff’s really enjoyable.”

Ragnar and Floki season 2 episode one

Fimmel confirmed that full-scale longboats are used for the series, created based on historical research, and not just filming models or CGI creations.  “They’re made to scale.  They definitely float and definitely work and definitely sail.”

Alyssa Sutherland, who was introduced in the last episode of Season One as a temptress of sorts for Ragnar, portrays a princess from Norse mythology who played a pivotal role in the legend of Ragnar.  Sutherland also gets some scenes on the Viking longboats in Season Two.  “This season I got a bit of boat time, she said.  “We were really lucky.  It was this gorgeous day.  The perfect day to be out in the boat in the islands.  You really do feel a part of it.”

Alyssa Sutherland in Vikings

As the daughter of Sigurd and the shield-maiden Brynhildr, Sutherland’s character Aslaug is decked-out in beautiful, historically drawn ninth century costumes.

Sutherland said it was a treat to be able to work with the talented Vikings costume designer, Emmy Award winner Joan Bergin.  “Right at the beginning of the season when I went in for my first fitting, before I went in to see her I knew [the costumes] were going to be stunning…  She just knocked my expectations right out of the park.  It was fabulous.”

The authentic costumes help inform Sutherland’s character and performance.  “Working in these costumes–it’s so much easier to get into character when you have something on you that makes you feel so much a part of it…  Costumes are a really important part of your character and feeling you really are that person…  They really are gorgeous.”

Aslaug and friend in Vikings

Working on the set of Vikings brought some authenticity to the experience for Sutherland, and that authenticity helped her to portray the character of Aslaug. “Everything–every detail, from the sets, the costumes, the hair and the make up, the props… Absolutely everything has so much detail in it.  I’ve been on other sets and it feels a little bit like a set.”

She says with the Vikings series, it’s a different experience.  “Everything is so realistic.  It’s really hard to describe unless someone sees it.  It just makes being in character and being a part of the story so much easier for an actor.”

Catch the Season Two premiere of Vikings tonight at 9 p.m. Central/10 p.m. Eastern on the History Channel.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
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