Travis Fimmel is one of the most important Australian talents working in film and television today. He has established himself as a leading man in the Hollywood hills whilst still contributing to the betterment of Australian cinema. He is set to star in Here are the Young Men premiering later this year, while also working on projects currently in post-production, namely El Tonto and Die in a Gunfight.
He was born in the Victorian town of Echuca in 1979. He spent his younger years on his parents dairy farm before moving to Melbourne to play in the St. Kilda AFL Club. After an unfortunate injury sidelined him before the season could begin, Fimmel enrolled at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology to study architecture and engineering, but soon found himself in London yearning to experience the wider world. Though continuing his studies or fulfilling his dreams of a football career were paths not yet closed, Fimmel was suddenly propelled into the world of modelling after being scouted back in Melbourne by Chadwick Models Agency, one of Australia’s leading organisations.
He was sent to Los Angeles where he was met with an immediate contract with L.A. models and began working for iconic labels such as Gap and L’Oreal, but it was not until his chance with Calvin Klein that this Australian talent became an international star.
Fimmel became the first male model to secure a six-figure deal with Calvin Klein, and fronted their Crave fragrance campaign as well as modelling their iconic underwear. Calvin Klein later recounted their meeting, saying, “His presence was jaw dropping. I called Steven Klein right away and said, “Don’t do anything. Just put him in the underwear and put him up against the window’”.
He seemed to separate himself from the modelling industry, and by turning his back on more lucrative deals and to be a guest judge on Australia’s TV series Make Me a Supermodel, it was clear that his true path was paved for something beyond modelling.
After a year of successful modelling, Fimmel began studying acting with highly acclaimed Hollywood coach Ivana Chubbuck, a tutor to such renowned names as James Franco, Brad Pitt and Jared Leto. Two years later, Fimmel landed the lead role in the Warner Bros. series Tarzan, in which his performance along with his execution of his own stunts garnered attention in Hollywood. He later appeared in an array of pilot episodes before moving on to feature films Restraint, Surfer, Dude and The Experiment, as well as revisiting his Australian roots in the 2010 horror film Needle alongside Ben Mendelsohn.
Fimmel was soon an established name in Hollywood. He appeared with Patrick Swayze in his last performance, A&E’s 2009 series The Beast, as well as co-starring with Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria in the redneck comedy The Baytown Outlaws.Yet his truly epic rise in popularity came from his portrayal of Ragnar Lothbrok in the History Channel’s drama series Vikings. Fimmel’s intense and engaging performance drew praise from critics and the support of viewers, with Huffington Post describing Vikings as Fimmels ‘breakout role’ and audiences applauding his appearances at International Comic-Cons promoting the series.
After leaving Vikings following the fourth series, Fimmel appeared in the live-action video game adaptation Warcraft as well as in the historical Australian war film Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan. Fimmel’s most recent film appearance was alongside fellow Australian favourite Margot Robbie in the indie thriller Dreamland, and he currently appears in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi series Raised By Wolves.
The series focuses on two androids, Mother and Father, who are tasked with raising human children after Earth was destroyed, and with a colony of humans challenging their religious beliefs, we are faced with an intense and unique adventure that raises questions of our own existence. Fimmel he did not even need to read the script to know that he needed to be a part of the series and play a character of extreme complexity in Marcus. He was drawn to Ridley Scott, but his immense talents and his inclusion in big-budget films and television series proved that creators were drawn to him.
Though Fimmel’s international status has grown and continues to grow, he still takes time to contribute to local Australian projects and has retained his sense of loyalty to his humble upbringing. He has always challenged the loud and extraordinary persona of Hollywood, saying, “As soon as I finish a scene I’m just normal, just want to socialise with the crew and have a laugh. We’re not curing cancer, we’re just playing dress ups”.
Fimmel has cemented himself as one of the leading Australians working internationally, and shows no signs of slowing down both in the quality and the quantity of his output.
Subscribe to FIB’s Weekly Alchemy Report for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!