NEW YORK — As an easygoing pickle vendor in the comedic “Maggie’s Plan” (opening Friday), Travis Fimmel is oceans and millenniums away from Ragnar, the warrior king he plays on History’s “Vikings.”
For the laid-back Fimmel, 36, that’s no big deal.
A self-described “Aussie farmboy” who grew up on his family’s 5,500 acre cattle ranch between Melbourne and Sydney, Fimmel seems unimpressed by either his accomplishments or his celebrity.
He boarded “Maggie’s” ensemble after being recommended to writer-director Rebecca Miller.
“She says that Daniel” — Day-Lewis, her husband — “had seen me in ‘Vikings’ and said, ‘We should meet that guy.’ I was shooting in Ireland, and they were living in Ireland in the summer, so I went up and met ’em. They’re such nice people.”
Miller cast Fimmel as a sweet sideshow to the heartstrings plucked and strummed by Greta Gerwig’s young, single Maggie, whose romantic escapades in contemporary Manhattan somehow lead her back to Fimmel.
“It’s a great, quirky, screwball-smart script. With some great actresses. Julianne Moore! She’s so good. Made me laugh,” Fimmel said, whispering.
As for “Vikings,” he said, “Yeah, it’s doing all right. It’s been a great experience, living in Ireland for four years with a great crew. Great people.
“I love Ireland,” he added, “except it rains too much. And it’s a long way from home — about 24 hours.”
The biggest hit of his career came about “same as most things. I put myself on tape and sent it in, and they were dumb enough to cast me,” he said with a smile.
“We’ve done 50 episodes now. Ragnar’s definitely changed as he’s gotten older. He begins as a farmer and works his way to being a king. And then it’s not what he expected it to be, you know? There’s a lot of sacrifices you have to make to be the boss.”
Any parallels there with his own life as a public figure?
“I don’t think the Vikings are anything like the entertainment industry.”