Translated from the danish article, through Google Translate:
(The original article can be found here: https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/kultur/gaming/du-kender-ham-maaske-ikke-men-i-udlandet-er-han-en-stor-viking-dansker-har)
"You may not know him, but abroad he is a great Viking.
Danes have the main role in one of the biggest games"
Magnus Bruun and Cecilie Stenspil add voices and body to new 'Assassin's Creed' game.
TODAY AT 10:34 Magnus Bruun sits on a chair in the middle of a Viking hall built around large wooden beams that are almost the size of a village church. He is in the process of the final styling of the makeup artist who is putting the last of his red tufts of hair in place so that they strut in just the right directions. Down on the chin and cheeks, the beard is perfectly styled and cut so that none of the long, curly red hairs ruin the shape of the beard. Magnus Bruun is quite unknown at home, he admits. In fact, even his friends do not quite know what he is doing abroad, where the Dane, who with a little good will can be confused with the red-bearded wilding leader Tormund from 'Game of Thrones', has long since been discovered.
In seasons three and four of the Netflix series 'The Last Kingdom', he has played the manipulative Viking army commander Cnut. Abroad has long been able to follow him in Knut's massacres, but here at home we have had to wait because Netflix in Denmark has not yet released the seasons. And now he's sitting in the makeup chair again to make face and the wild Viking beard ready for footage. This time it is not the at least for the Danes secret Viking series on Netflix. Instead, it is a recording for one of the largest gaming media in the world. From the Viking Hall in Sagnlandet Lejre, he will comment on how the professional gamers play. For Magnus Bruun has now gone on to become an international game star. He has given body to Eivor, who is the male lead in the Ubisoft game 'Assassin's Creed: Valhalla', which is published today, and recorded the character's approximately 11,000 lines in English. But before he got the role, he had to go through a in many ways quite unusual casting.
– Everything was insanely secret. Nor did my own agent in London, who contacted me about the role, know anything. Not even when I boarded the plane for the casting test in London "for a selected few", I knew what it was I was going to casting on. And it's pretty abnormal.
– It was all so insanely secret, because the game is so big, and Ubisoft did not want to risk that it was revealed that the new 'Assassin's Creed' game would be about Vikings, says the Danish actor.
Viking on the wrong track Maybe it’s the role of Cnut and the long, red beard he’s had since 2017, when he recorded his first episodes of ‘The Last Kingdom’, that does it. But Magnus Bruun seems a bit like a restless viking. As he speaks, he fences with his arms as if he were preparing a blow. Several times he apologizes for suddenly answering something completely different than he was asked. Other times, his flow of speech leads him astray, so that he almost forgets the question.
– I have to be damn careful what I say, because I must not spoil. And when it comes to this game, it gets lightning fast on all sorts of media, he apologizes. But Magnus Bruun's Viking style is perhaps not so crazy either, because if it had not been for the role of Cnut, he would not have been offered to add voice and body movements to the main character in one of the most popular games in the world. At least he himself is convinced of that. – Mo-cap! That's what they call it when we record my body movements to Eivor, it sounds from him when I ask how long it took to add voice and movement to the series, but where he has not completely let go of the previous question.
– Yes sorry. I know I talk a lot, but the big difference between casting for a game and for TV is that in games they listen a lot more. They and the players must be able to endure listening to this person for 200 hours without fucking hating him.
– So the games have made boyfriends, wives, husbands and friends listen to my casting recordings with their eyes closed to see if my voice became too annoying in the long run. And there is the complete opposite of film, where appearance and, if you are known, play a much bigger role before, during and after the casting, says Magnus Bruun.
So have you worked more with your voice than in the TV series?
– I have done intense voice warm-up before all the recordings, and then I have taken great care not to get sick. They wanted my voice the way it was, and it would not do if Eivor sounded cold in the middle of the game.
– In 'The Last Kingdom' I often had to shout things like "diiiiiiieee!" and "to waaaar!" ("die" and "in war"), but Eivor is not just a typical bloodthirsty Viking, often seen in movies and TV series. He has many more teams, which change quite often in the game – and then he is the hero. Therefore, it is a very different role than the one I had in the TV series, and my voice should fit that as well.
Got Cecilie Stenspil as co-star
In 'Assassin's Creed: Valhalla' you can choose to play the male and female versions of Eivor. While Magnus Bruun has added voice and body movements to the male version of Eivor, it is the Danish actress Cecilie Stenspil who is the female Eivor. And that is actually due to Magnus Bruun, he says.
Because after he was given the role of the male Eivor, one woman after another went to the castings in London in vain, because their voices just weren't quite what the playwrights thought they should be.
– There should be some bottom in the voice and a little age, but it should also sound young. And then I first thought of Cecilie Stenspil because she has the perfect voice. So I talked to the game's narrative director and the other instructors on the game. Shortly after, it ended up being her, and I'm really happy about that. This got both him and Cecilie Stenspil into sound studios in Canada and London, before the corona pandemic closed its borders in the spring, where they and a technician had to record in a broadcast sound studio in Copenhagen, while two instructors from Ubisoft sat and listened directly from Canada.
– I never think I have been in a sound studio so extremely much, says Magnus Bruun and adds that he was lucky that he was not affected at work by the corona downturn that many of his acting colleagues were affected by.
Was in a tight suit to make movements for Eivor
– But a lot is also easier when making games, he says and refers to the recordings, where he had to put body movements to Eivor. Because while he was recording 'The Last Kingdom' in Hungary in minus 15 degrees on a black war stallion bound in a large, heavy piece of skin, armor, giant leather boots and with a bottle of hair and jewelery, this time he could make do with a tight spandex suit and a helmet.
– I looked like something from an aerobics team from the early 90's when I had to record motion captions for Eivor in the game. It was really something I had to get used to. In the TV series, there could be 100 stuntmen behind me, who played my army, but here I was often alone and had to jump over a couple of green boxes, which in the finished game represent a moat.
– In the beginning it was a bit difficult because the suit and helmet are full of cameras and electronics, so I hammered the cameras into everything possible in the beginning. So they shouted quite a lot: "Cuuuuuut for technicaaaal! Magnus !!!!!" The first few days there was quite a lot I had to get used to, he says.
When it emerged that Magnus Bruun was to play Eivor, things went completely crazy on his Twitter and Instagram profiles. In the first 12 hours after the news broke, he gained 5,000 new followers, many of whom welcomed him to the "Brotherhood". And it was a completely different group of followers than those from 'The Last Kingdom', who among other things have a relatively large portion of "middle-aged American women who wrote that they would then like to be torn around by a wild viking", as Magnus Bruun describes them. Since then, he is often tagged in postings where he is asked what he thinks of everything from a new trailer for the game, fans' drawings of Eivor or a news story about how 'Assassin's Creed: Valhalla' will be.
But in reality, it was not very much he knew about the game and about gaming in general before he was hired for the role of Eivor.
– I have never been the big gamer myself, even though I have played 'Counter-Strike', 'Colonization' and other games. But I was already allowed to play a bit of 'Assassin's Creed: Valhalla' over a year ago when we were doing the motion capture footage in Montreal and there it was really nice. Now it is finished and absolutely fantastic, so I definitely have to play it a lot more, he says.
Magnus Bruun would really like to work on other games in the future and is happy with the opportunities a "little red-haired boy from Hillerød" has had in the big world.
– But I have said no to a couple of theater performances in Denmark, because I had to record abroad, and I have been a little sad. On the other hand, I have ridden on a wave in recent years, and I have been wildly happy about that.
ABOUT: Magnus Bruun is an actor and 36 years old. He has played Cnut in the Viking series 'The Last Kingdom' on Netflix. The two seasons he plays in have still not been released on the Danish Netflix. He has also starred in several Danish series and films such as 'When the dust has settled', 'Deception' and 'Under the sand'. He also plays in the third season of the TV2 series 'Sygeplejeskolen'.
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