Northman, The: Robert (The Lihghthouse) Eggers on Directing Nude Battle Scene and Managing Epic Production

Robert Eggers on Directing Nude Battle Scene and Managing Epic Production

“We had to add some CG genitals for certain shots,” the director said about the challenging filmmaking process.

 

Acclaimed director Robert Eggers had a message to share about The Northman. “I want to say that this is not a film by Robert Eggers,” said the filmmaker on Monday night, “It’s a film made by enormous amount of collaborators.”
Ahead of the premiere, he was joined by actors Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Gustav Lindh and Oscar Novak.

Photo: The Lighthouse

Viking Epic

Eggers singled out many of them, starting with Focus Features and New Regency for backing his vision for Viking epic that tells the story of a young prince as he seeks to avenge his father’s murder.

Beast of a Movie

“Supporting filmmaker and making large-scale film that’s not a superhero movie is very rare thing, and I truly feel incredibly grateful and privileged to have made this film,” he noted. “It’s a beast to make.”

Eggers said the entire shoot “was only hard,” due to all the elements of an authentic and large-scale production. “If it’s not a Viking raid of a village with hundreds of extras of stuntmen, horses, cows, chickens, geese, children, then it was a storm at sea at night on a Viking ship, or a naked sword fight on a volcano,” he noted, with the latter referencing the (spoiler alert!) epic climax that features a nude battle between Skarsgård’s Amleth and Claes Bang’s Fjölnir.

Eggers opens up about why they had to add CG genitals to the scene, his meticulous research process and why you won’t find him sneaking in the back of any screenings on opening weekend.

Hollywood Blvd. lined with fans, Viking music in the background?

Childhood me is very proud, so that’s cool.

Leap to $70 million-plus filmmaking?

Talking about childhood me, I got to build a Viking village in a Viking city with longships and merchant ships. It’s completely crazy. But the challenge is, you get lot more responsibility on your shoulders, and that can be intimidating at times, but me and my collaborators, we were up for the challenge.

Meticulous research process?

I like to read a lot of books and watch things. I listen to podcasts as much as I can.

But we had privilege of literally working with the world’s greatest Viking historians and archeologists in the field of Viking studies on this movie, from the writing through post-production. It’s a unique film in that way.

Reuniting with Anya Taylor-Joy?

Anya was great when she was 18, she’s great now.

Both of us have gotten better at our craft. Where she’s changed the most is her professionalism on the set is an inspiration for everyone who works with her. I know that’s boring, but it is cool, especially when she’s wearing potato sack barefoot in the mud with horizontal rain, and she’s got a good attitude. That’s helpful for everybody.

Managing high-scale production?

If it’s not a Viking raid of a village with hundreds of extras of stuntmen, horses, cows, chickens, geese, children, then it was a storm at sea at night on Viking ship, or naked sword fight on a volcano. There was nothing easy about making this movie. It was only hard.

Naked sword fight, digital erasure?

We had to add things digitally because they were wearing thongs instead of being naked because no one wanted to get their bits chopped off.  We actually had to add some CG genitals for certain shots so that they didn’t look too Ken doll-ish. You’ve got to make it look real. I’m sure we did some full-body scans of Alex. They’re out there.

Nobody is Method on your sets?

If someone wants to be Method, they’re more than welcome to be Method. But my main direction is don’t blink, don’t move your face, and say your lines. When you have an archetypal story with archetypal characters.

Alexander Skarsgård looks like a Viking, is playing a Viking, on a mountain and dressed as a Viking — just say your lines. I know there’s more to it than that, but in a way, with this cast, it’s almost that simple.

Opening weekend?

I saw this movie 19 times in the last two weeks of post-production. I’m all set, thanks. I’ll watch it tonight, but then I’m done.