Those About To Die Actors Moe Hashim and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson Discuss Playing Gladiators in the Epic Show (INTERVIEW)

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Some of the most epic stories in Ancient Rome are those of the gladiators, and in Those About To Die, those roles are played by Moe Hashim (Ted Lasso) and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Vikings: Valhalla). 


We at FandomWire spoke with Hashim and Jóhannesson about their roles in Those About To Die, how they prepared for them, and shooting the show’s epic action sequences. Check out the full interview here:

Those About To Die Interview

FandomWire: The two of you give some of the most physical performances in Those About To Die. Did you have to do a robust training regimen to prepare for these roles?


Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson: Well, yeah, there was a lot of stunt training and additional weight training and stuff. Moe, you did some weight training as well.

Moe Hashim: Yeah. I mean, the weight training was probably easier than the stunt training.

Jóhannesson: We spent a lot of weeks and months in the stunt shed.


Hashim: I mean, sure. Let me tell you something — Jóhannes and Martyn Ford, who played Flamma — had to fight me. There’s a big difference between me fighting Jóhannes and Martyn Ford. So these guys, they’re probably in the weight training doing squats and, “Agh, this is harder than fighting Moe.”

those about to die
THOSE ABOUT TO DIE — Episode 110 — Pictured: (l-r) Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as Viggo, Moe Hashim as Kwame — (Photo by: Reiner Bajo/Peacock)

FW: I think one of the most fascinating things about Those About To Die’s gladiator action sequences is that they were shot in sequence. Did you find this to be helpful? Challenging?

Jóhannesson: I mean, shooting in sequence is always helpful. It’s always great when you can do that, and especially with action stuff, it helps with everything. Because in an action sequence, as it goes along, people get cuts and bruises, and there’s blood, and for makeup and costumes, it’s better when you can actually do it in sequence.


Hashim: I actually still — I don’t know if you can see this [He holds up a scar on his hand to the camera] — do you still have this? By the way? Do you remember we took a picture of our scars from the shield?

Jóhannesson: Oh, from the shield! No, I don’t have it.

Hashim: I’ve been using that. I’ve still got a scar on my hand from it!


Jóhannesson: You have to get a cream for that. Send Roland [Emmerich] the receipt. Ask him to reimburse you.

those about to die
THOSE ABOUT TO DIE — Episode 105 — Pictured: Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as Viggo, Moe Hashim as Kwame — (Photo by: Reiner Bajo/Peacock)

FW: Mr. Hashim, prior to Those About To Die, your best-known role was, of course, in Ted Lasso. Did you find the jump from a comedy series like that to a dramatic one like Those About To Die to be challenging?

Hashim: 100%. It was everything you can think of challenging, exciting, worrying, scary, fun, everything. A majority of the time filming on Ted Lasso, it was a very fun show — a comedy. And even though this show’s an ensemble, being part of like a football team, where it was constantly we’re filming in groups of like 10 to 15, and in this one, in groups, it would just be like me and Jóhannes. But it will be in like a live-or-die type of scene. 


It was definitely challenging, but it was exactly what I needed to kind of challenge myself and learn a bit more about myself and what I can do and my capabilities.

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THOSE ABOUT TO DIE — Episode 101 — Pictured: Moe Hashim as Kwame— (Photo by: Reiner Bajo/Peacock)

FW: Of course, the two of you are playing hardened gladiators in Those About To Die, but there’s also a vulnerability to your performances, largely thanks to your friendship dynamic. How did you go about building this on set?

Jóhannesson: Well, we needed to have humanity within that confinement of being slaves and prisoners. I think we just found that it’s on the page, and for us, we just had to become friends.


Hashim: I think for me, it was probably more difficult on Jóhannes, Viggo’s side–

Jóhannesson: I thought you were gonna say it was difficult to become friends with me. [He laughs.]

Hashim: In a way, because Kwame kind of accepts the fact that he’s gonna die. He accepts the fact that he probably won’t make it and stuff like that. But Viggo kind of wants him to live more than Kwame actually wants himself to live. Viggo wants him to survive and wants to give him all the right tools to survive and cheers him on and prays for him and does everything he can for Kwame to survive. I feel like there was more difficulty inside with Kwame, he’s just like, “If it happens, it happens.”


Jóhannesson: Like a teenager. “Okay, Dad.”

Hashim: “Okay, Dad.” [He laughs.]

Jóhannesson: “You have to live, son!!!”


Those About To Die streams on Peacock beginning July 18.

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Sean Boelman

Written by Sean Boelman

Articles Published: 174

Sean is a film critic, filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include music documentaries, heist movies, and experimental horror.