Playing Uhtred on The Last Kingdom was “painful and exhausting”

The Last Kingdom season 5
The Last Kingdom season 5 /

After running for five seasons on Netflix, The Last Kingdom wrapped up with the movie Seven Kings Must Die earlier this year. That finally brought an end to the medieval action show, which meant fans had to say goodbye to lead character Uhtred of Bebbanburg, played by Alexander Dreymon.

Dreymon looked back on the role of his career to date in an interview with Numéro Magazine. “We all put in year-round effort to achieve a level of realism and believability for the months of our shoot,” he said, detailing how arduous shooting the show could be. “As for the emotional preparation, after a while Uhtred became like a second skin for me. You hear actors say this a lot after playing someone on a series for a while, but it’s very true.”

"However, it’s one thing to slip into character to do a scene where he’s walking into a tavern and asking someone some questions and it’s another entirely to mourn the loss of a child. Going to those emotional depths is, for me, the only way to bring real heartbreak across."

The Last Kingdom’s Alexander Dreymon hopes he gets another role like Uhtred someday

Anyone who’s watched The Last Kingdom can tell that Dreymon gave all of himself to the role, which was punishing but also rewarding. “[A]s painful and exhausting as that is, those days are always exhilarating. And it helped to have such a phenomenally talented cast to work across from, as well as directors and a crew who have always been thoroughly supportive and considerate,” he said.

"This role was one that really called on every cell of my body and I just hope I’ll have the chance to do something as all-consuming again someday."

The Last Kingdom also gave Dreymon some experience behind the camera, as he worked as a producer on every season of the show since season 3. For Seven Kings Must Die, he was promoting to executive producer, not to mention directing an episode in season 5.

“[I]t was a real honor to be a director on our final season,” Dreymon said. “I worked my a** off to make sure they didn’t regret it. I loved it even more than I thought I would and I am in the process of deciding what I want to direct next. I have the bug.”

The Last Kingdom may be gone, but if you want more of Uhtred, you can always read the Saxon Stories books by Bernard Cornwell. And there’s another TV show based on Cornwell’s work coming around the corner:

Next. Watch the trailer for The Winter King, from the author of The Last Kingdom. dark

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