EXCLUSIVE: Why Alexander Ludwig Is Glad He Wasn't Peeta in 'The Hunger Games'

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ET sat down with Blackway star Alexander Ludwig to talk about his decade-spanning career (which includes a Harry Potter toy commercial), but first things first -- his hot mom!

Sorry, not sorry. Sharlene Ludwig is a total babe.
Full disclosure: while doing research for this interview, I legitimately thought this was his girlfriend. (He doesn’t have one by the way – so line up, ladies.)

“I’m so glad you said that!” laughed Ludwig. “My mom is a fox, she really Is. She's my biggest fan. She’s one cool lady.”

It’s not difficult to conclude that good genes run in the Ludwig family – which were on full display during an Abercrombie & Fitch modeling campaign Ludwig took on while he was in college.

“I had been asked randomly. This had nothing to do with [the fact] that I had done films before,” said Ludwig. “It was a major shoot with Bruce Weber, whose work I’d been familiar with and I thought he was an incredible photographer, so I thought it was a great experience.”

As mentioned, Ludwig had already acted in several films at this point. In 2012, he made quite an impression as Cato in The Hunger Games, the District 2 villain who ultimately met his end. But before accepting the part, Ludwig was a top contender for the role of Peeta – which eventually went to Josh Hutcherson.

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“We met with [director] Gary [Ross] and he gave me this script for Cato and he's like, 'Would you want to read this?' and I was like, 'Yeah! I'd love to play the bad guy, that would be so fun,’” said Ludwig. “When I read it I was like, ‘Sh*t, well, this is just perfect!’”

“I'm really really happy that it turned out the way it did,” added Ludwig. “When I got Vikings, I realized how much more I had to learn. It just feels like being on this show now, everything kind of just happened for a reason and I really had to learn what it takes to be great.”

Ludwig currently stars as the sword-wielding Bjorn Ironside on History Channel’s hit series, which is currently in its fourth season. Ludwig explains filming in Ireland during the winter really took its toll on the cast and crew.

“You've got this wardrobe that's so not conducive to the environment you're in,” said Ludwig. “I remember my hands, I've never been in so much pain in my entire life, just frozen completely.”

In addition to Vikings, Ludwig is taking on a suspenseful new thriller, Blackway, which follows a young woman named Lillian (Julia Stiles) who is relentlessly stalked by an ex-cop turned crime lord (Ray Liotta). The constant harassment forces Lillian to seek help from an unlikely pair, played by Ludwig and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

“It was an experience of a lifetime,” said Ludwig of working with the star-studded cast. “Julia and I immediately hit it off. She's like my sister. But Tony and Ray. I mean, I've seen their work since I was a kid. It was really one of the greatest filming experiences of my life.”

is in theaters June 10.