Director Robert Eggers’ last two feature films – The Witch and The Lighthouse – have been utterly unique period pieces. For his next, he’s drastically ramping up the scale for a full-on historical epic that’s set to be every bit as gritty and distinctive as his previous efforts.
Starring Alexander Skarsgärd as vengeance-seeking Viking prince Amleth, The Northman has a far grander sweep than the contained intensity of The Witch or The Lighthouse. "It was intimidating and daunting," writer/director Eggers tells Total Film magazine of upscaling from the intimacy of his first two movies. You can see an exclusive new still from the film, taken from the new issue of Total Film, above.
Any filmmaker whose first films are so exemplary is going to be granted bigger toys by a studio, and a Viking picture lends itself to vast landscapes and sweeping battles. "I was utterly terrified, but it’s a major privilege to be able to do something like this," Eggers continues. "It’s been exciting. The studio let me use all my head of departments from my last two films, and I was able to work with the top Viking historians in the world, which was incredible."
Based on the story of Amleth, by Danish author Saxo Grammaticus, who wrote in Latin, The Northman tracks Alexander Skarsgård’s prince Amleth as he seeks to pursue vengeance for his murdered father. If that bare-bones outline sounds rather familiar, it’s because Shakespeare nicked it for Hamlet. But whereas the Bard’s conflicted hero pondered and procrastinated at every turn, this “ancient, primitive” take on Amleth, coauthored by Eggers and Sjón, sees the prince as a strapping man of action.
"The amount of discipline that Alex put into this role is crazy," Eggers tells Total Film. "He transformed his body more wildly than he did in Tarzan."
The Northman is set to open in UK cinemas on April 15, before opening in the US on April 22. For more from Eggers, pick up a copy of the new issue of Total Film when it hits stands (both real and digital) on Thursday, February 3. Check out the new cover featuring The Batman, as revealed by Matt Reeves:
Hey! @TheBatman is on the cover of the new issue of @totalfilm - check out the exclusive subscribers' cover, and the newsstand cover which hits shelves on Thursday! #TheBatman is #OnlyInTheaters on March 4! pic.twitter.com/AXNRebf0SzJanuary 28, 2022
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