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He might be about to star in the futuristic, sci-fi drama Raised By Wolves, but Travis Fimmel says he’s really an old-school kind of guy.The Aussie heart-throb, who found international fame as Ragnar Lothbrok in the cult TV series Vikings, was raised on a dairy farm with his two brothers just outside of Echuca on…

He might be about to star in the futuristic, sci-fi drama Raised By Wolves, but Travis Fimmel says he’s really an old-school kind of guy.

The Aussie heart-throb, who found international fame as Ragnar Lothbrok in the cult TV series Vikings, was raised on a dairy farm with his two brothers just outside of Echuca on the NSW-Victoria border and was poised to follow in the footsteps of his father until fate intervened.

When he was 18, a friend told him he was off to travel the world.

“I said, ‘I’ll come with you’,” says the now-41-year-old with a laugh. “That was as much of a plan that I had.

“So, I lived and worked in a pub in London for two years and travelled around. It was a great experience exploring places without any of the technology that we have now.”

Fimmel is wistful about a world that predates technology, and confesses earlier in the call that he had problems navigating the Zoom format that’s become the norm for interviews in 2020.

“I like things simple,” he says. “I wished I lived 200 years ago. I was much closer to my Vikings character in that way because I always wanted to be a farmer since I was a little kid. Then I went travelling and for some reason ended up doing this, and have no idea why I’m doing it still.”

It was during his stint as a bartender in London that he met his future manager, David Seltzer, who convinced him to move to the US.

At age 21 he relocated to LA and immediately signed a modelling contract with Calvin Klein, the results of which were on display on billboards around the world.

Even now, he plays it down.

“I just did one modelling job, mate,” he assures. “That was it. I don’t think about it.”

Following his Calvin Klein campaign, unsurprisingly, he quickly landed a slew of roles including the lead in the 2003 TV series, Tarzan, followed by movies including Surfer Dude (2008), Ivory (2010), The Baytown Outlaws (2013), Maggie’s Plan (2015), and, more recently, Warcraft (2016), Lean On Pete (2017), and Dreamland (2019). On the small screen, he performed in: Rocky Point (2005), The Beast (2009), Chase (2010), Vikings (2013 to 2017), and 50 States of Fright (2020).

The tug of his homeland remains strong though and he says he’d much rather be in Australia than the movie mecca of Hollywood.

“I love my heritage, I love where I grew up, and all my main buddies are there,” he admits.

He’d even hoped that his new collaboration with Ridley Scott on Raised By Wolves could be done Down Under. The Oscar-nominated director of Gladiator, Thelma and Louise and The Martian had loved filming the Alien prequel Prometheus in and around Sydney, but sadly the economics didn’t work out for the big-budget HBO drama series that premieres on Foxtel here this week and production ended up in South Africa.

Raised By Wolves marks Scott’s first foray into TV directing – and while sci-fi is in his DNA thanks to classics including Alien and Bladerunner, it wasn’t a genre that appealed to Fimmel.

“Never been a sci-fi guy, ever,” Fimmel says. “I always prefer stuff based in reality.

“But Ridley changes your mind because he makes it about relationships, and although we have a different backdrop it’s

still all about love and all that goes with it.”

Created by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, The Red Road), the series was shot 30 minutes outside Cape Town and follows two androids, Mother and Father, who raise human children on an unidentified virgin planet.

As the population on the colony expands, the zealously atheistic androids grapple with control issues over the humans when they dictate that they rid themselves of their religious beliefs.

Fellow Aussie, 14-year-old Winta McGrath (“he’s a great little fellow and a great little actor,” says Fimmel), plays the soulful child, Campion, who aligns himself with one parent over the other, only to eventually rebel.

Raised By Wolves explores the dynamics of familial hierarchy, and the idea that regardless of who or what is doing the parenting, the struggles and the issues that surround those relationships are universal.

Enter Fimmel, who plays Marcus, a morally ambiguous rogue soldier who has escaped Earth and must forge his way through this strange new world.

He questions the parental ability of Mother, who teaches the children ideologies that don’t sync up with his own, but whether his heart’s in the right place remains to be seen. “It’s complicated,” he nods, chuckling. “It’s something

for the audience

to figure out on their own.”

Raised By Wolves, Thursday, 8.30pm, Fox Showcase or stream on Foxtel.

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