Former Canadian resident, Alexander Ludwig, recently moved to Austin, TX, and will release his debut country music album, “Highway 99,” on August 26, 2022. We had a chance to briefly talk to this award-winning actor about his acting career, love for country music and his debut album. Alexander played Cato in the film, “The Hunger Games”; Bjorn Ironside in The History Channel’s TV series, “Vikings,” and is currently playing Ace Spade in “Heels,” on the Starz network channel.
Tell us a little about yourself and how your interest in acting began.
It was just one of those things. I always knew that is what I was meant to do. Both music and acting have been something I have been drawn to for as long as I can remember – being a storyteller. My mom, who has been my biggest fan since I was a kid, used to be an actress, and when I was nine years old I stole her phone and called her to ask for a meeting. Soon afterwards, I started booking commercials and worked my way up.
You are not only an award-winning actor but now a country music singer. How did that come about?
It all comes back to my love for storytelling, and country music in its own right is some of the greatest storytelling out there. The fact that I am known as an actor first, I think, is simply because I found my way into that industry before I found one with country music. But I grew up listening to country music, it’s just a part of who I am, and speaks to so much of the life I try to lead.
You recently released your latest single Faded On Me which will be a part of the new album you have scheduled to release on August 26 via BBR Music Group/BMG, titled Highway 99. Talk a little bit about some of the songs and what this album means to you.
It means everything to me. I titled it Highway 99 because that’s my favorite drive on the planet – it’s this long stretch of winding road from Vancouver to Whistler Mountain, and on that drive as a kid is where I got my music education. I wanted this album to reflect that, not as much of a consistent story as it is a winding road of feelings along the Pacific Coast into the mountains. When you listen to this album, I want it to feel like you are on that road, experiencing the same things I did.
Was there ever another life-choice you wanted to pursue besides acting or singing country music?
Never. It was those two – acting or singing – or being homeless.
You were popular as Bjorn Ironside on the History Channel’s TV series, Vikings. Now you’re starring in a new TV series called Heels which is showing on the Starz network, and is about two rival wrestlers who are brothers fighting for their father’s legacy. It also stars Arrow lead, Stephen Amell. What’s it like working with Stephen?
My experience with Vikings was proof that good material rises to the top. If it’s a good show people will find it. I still have people coming up to me about the show saying they just finished watching it, though it’s been off for three years now.
With Heels I connected on so many levels with the character I play and the world he’s in. He’s just this lost soul trying to find meaning in the world, and I was hooked from the minute I read the script. My respect for the wrestling community is truly endless, what those guys put their bodies through is crazy, and after five minutes in the ring I am gassed. I can’t imagine being in the ring for 40 minutes. Stephen and I are really close, and have bonded over the desire to make this as good and accurate of a show as possible.
People are loving the show, and I’m so grateful for the response. So my goal is just to keep doing what we’re doing, and trust that through all the noise, it will continue to find its audience and rise as Vikings did.
Which of your movies have meant the most to you and why?
Lone Survivor meant the most to me for sure because it was a true story, and it was a chance to honor those fallen heroes. I’m still very close to Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, and I feel we did right by him, those who didn’t make it and the Seal community as a whole.
You were born in Canada but recently moved to Austin. What do you like about living in Texas?
I’m in love with Austin. Texas. It’s a really special place with amazing people. It feels like I’m home when I’m here, except, maybe, the difference in the weather.
What would you say to someone who has a gift to act and/or sing? What advice would you give to them to encourage or inspire them?
Talent will get you in the door, but persistence will take you the rest of the way. If you have a dream or a calling, you have a moral obligation to yourself to answer it. There is no plan B. So just start. Don’t try and copy anyone else, just be you. You will never have someone else’s career but in that same way no one will have yours and that’s exciting. Have faith, put one foot in front of the other, and remember to be grateful because this is a marathon not a sprint and you need to enjoy the process. Be happy with where you are at and know that with hard work, dedication, and a smile, you’ll get to where you are going. Most importantly, have fun.
What are some things you like about acting and/or singing?
When I do these things, I am in the present moment, nowhere else, and it’s incredibly freeing. I also love when something I’ve done means something to someone else. Stories connect people, inspire people, and to be a small part of that is such a gift.
Tell us one thing no one – or a few people – would know about you.
I love to skydive. I’m an adrenaline junky at heart, and, according to my wife, I give a pretty good foot massage…but don’t ask for one because she’s got me pretty well booked.
Cover Photo from Alexander Ludwig
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.