Thousands of Irish extras sought for next series of Vikings

Wanted: Thousands of athletic men and ‘natural haired’ women as extras for fifth season

Series 5 of the hit Irish-Canadian TV series “Vikings” which will be filmed in June in Dublin and Wicklow has been holding open casting days to hire thousands of extras for the production. Video: Bryan O'Brien


Crowds of eager auditionees thronged Mary Street Little in Dublin on Monday as the television drama Vikings held its first casting call for thousands of extras required for its upcoming fifth season.

The popular History Channel series has regularly turned to enthusiastic fans to play peripheral background roles since it began filming in Ireland in 2012, and recruited an estimated 8,000 extras for part-time work in the fourth season last year.

Organisers say thousands of roles will be filled following auditions in Dublin and Wicklow this month, prompting a queue which snaked all the way around the block outside The Complex this morning.

Among the hopefuls was Cian Bonus, who left Cork before dawn to fill out the required paperwork and have his photograph taken as part of the selection process.

“I got here at 9am. I got the 5am bus up from Cork. I’m just up [in Dublin] for this and then straight back down,” he said.

Decked out in his full monk’s attire complete with his steel ‘Excalibur’ longsword sheathed across his back, Derek O’Shaughnessy was back for a second time after he played roles including an oarsmen, a shopkeeper and a clothes washer in Vikings Season 4.

“I’m just here for a bit of fun and a bit of work. I’ve brought a sword along and a couple of costumes. I’m dressed as a monk to make a little bit of an effort to get the work,” he said.

Producers are seeking people of all ages and ethnicities to fill parts, and in particular are looking for “sporty types”, men with beards and women with naturally coloured hair for a variety of roles including archers, farm workers, tree surgeons and whittlers.

Having never auditioned before in her life, Caroline Mullally from Clane decided to give it a go this time because she felt she fitted the description.

“I’m here because they’re looking for athletic people with naturally coloured hair. I turned 40 last year and I thought I’d try and do something interesting going forward. I have two kids and they’re kind of grown up now so I thought I’d do something for myself,” she said.

Many spoken to had some experience of working as extras on the show over previous seasons, and despite the winding queue Carl Byrne-Colgan from Mullingar was expecting more people to try out given the popularity of the series.

“I love the show. I binge watch it regularly. I’ve probably watched it about three times now.

“I was at the casting in Temple Bar last year and this is very different from last year… Vikings is after getting very popular so I was expecting loads of people to be here, but the queue is still massive,” he said.

Further auditions will be held at the Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town on Wednesday after two days of casting calls in Dublin on Monday and Tuesday, and Vikings Season 5 will film from June 2016 until May 2017.