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Filming ‘The Lighthouse’ Started With Robert Pattinson Masturbating and Got Crazier From There

The only thing more insane than Robert Eggers' "The Lighthouse" is the making of "The Lighthouse."

"The Lighthouse"

“The Lighthouse”

A24

[Editor’s note: The following post contains minor spoilers for “The Lighthouse.”]

Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” is one of the year’s most acclaimed genre offerings, and the behind-the-scenes stories from the film’s grueling production are quickly becoming as insane as the film itself (see Robert Pattinson eating mud and vomiting). For Eggers, filming his follow-up to “The Witch” began with Pattinson simulating masturbation on camera and only got crazier from there. The director tells The Daily Beast that Pattinson self-pleasuring was the first scene that was on the “The Lighthouse” shooting schedule, which anyone who has seen the film knows is appropriately twisted.

“On day one we shot Rob masturbating in the shed — it’s the very first thing we shot — and Rob really, really went for it,” Eggers said. “And you know, it was inspiring.”

Pattinson relived the first-day experience himself in a new interview with The New York Times. “Well, my first shot was this ferocious masturbation scene. It’s always nice to do something massive for your opening shot, and I went really massive on the first take,” he said. “It was a 180 from everything we’d done in rehearsal, and I could see Robert [Eggers] a little in shock afterward. But I was like, ‘Ok, cool, I didn’t get told to stop, so I’ll keep going in that direction.’ As soon as I’d done that, it was like the road started getting paved.”

From there, the production only got wilder. Pattinson has said he would get so drunk on set to play his character (who admittedly is drunk most of the movie) that he would not only vomit but also blackout and pee his pants. Pattinson told Interview magazine in 2018 that making “The Lighthouse” was a kind of “torture,” and one scene in which he was getting sprayed in the face with water got so extreme he nearly punched Eggers in the face.

Eggers wrote “The Lighthouse” screenplay with his brother, Max Eggers, and a sex scene between Pattinson’s character and a mermaid (Valeriia Karaman) forced the two to do their research on mermaid vaginas. Eggers is notoriously precise when it comes to his films being historically authentic, so the director studied shark genitals to keep his fantastical creature’s vagina as real as possible.

“The mermaid on the Starbucks cup that has two tails is based on an early mermaid design,” Eggers told The Daily Beast. “Medieval and Renaissance mermaids were always split so that these anima figures of male fantasy could perform their role that had been unfairly thrust upon them by their male imaginers. But no surprise that in the Victorian Era, they closed the mermaids up and made them impenetrable. So that single-tail mermaid silhouette has become the archetypal mermaid look for people today, and also what a mermaid would have looked like in the period of the movie.”

“The Lighthouse” opens in theaters October 18 from A24. Head over to The Daily Beast to read more from Eggers.

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