Katheryn Winnick is known to kick some serious ass as Lagertha on the hit History Channel series “Vikings.” But in her new project, she’s taking on more of a conventional role ― although she believes there’s strength in every female character. 

In “The Dark Tower,” Winnick ― a Taekwondo expert and self-defense instructor ― ditches her action-hero mentality for something more subtle to play single mom Laurie Chambers, who’s looking out for her son, Jake, as he’s torn between reality and a fantastical world. The film, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, is based on Stephen King’s successful book series of the same name. 

“It was nice to let my guard down, truthfully,” Winnick told HuffPost on Build Series Tuesday. “What attracted me to this project is the fact that I get to play a contemporary character and somebody that is grounded. I felt that with her being a single mom and really in a new marriage, she has to have a certain sense of strength in trying to keep things together and trying to really make the right decisions for her son. And I thought that was really interesting, was to find that strength in an everyday world.”

Winnick has been on the show “Vikings” for five years now ― “20 episodes a year, which means we’re shooting 10 months out of the year” ― giving her little time to test the waters with different projects. Still, thanks to creator Michael Hirst’s scripts, her character Lagertha has been able to transform on the small screen each season, shifting her arc through dynamic storylines. 

In Season 5, which debuts Nov. 29, Lagertha is the ruler of Kattegat, a position that allowed Winnick to explore being a woman in charge. She didn’t want to “push it,” but the actress was eager to make her character a “strategic ruler” rather than one who craved war and revenge. 

“I wanted to make different choices,” she explained. “Obviously, with a woman with such authority, there’s always issues of other people taking her seriously and getting the respect that she feels she deserves, and being a woman and also having to deal with male counterparts that want to usurp her. And that I would relate to some of my friends who are running their own businesses or mothers who are at home and juggling being a single mother or rushing to work and trying to do it all. I felt that was something that I really tried to absorb and bring into Lagertha this season.” 

With “Vikings” continuing and “Dark Tower” hitting theaters this Friday, it seems Winnick is ruling either way. 

Watch her full Build Series interview with HuffPost below. 

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