Robert Eggers wrapped production on “The Northman” earlier this week. The epic Viking drama is Eggers’ third directorial feature following acclaimed indie hits “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse.” A co-production between New Regency and Focus Features, “The Northman” stars Alexander Skarsgård in a Viking revenge saga set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century. Eggers’ ensemble cast includes reunions with his “Lighthouse” star Willem Dafoe and “The Witch” breakout” Anya Taylor-Joy, plus Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, and Björk. Eggers co-wrote the script with Icelandic poet and novelist Sjón.
Production on “The Northman” began in late summer in Ireland. The Belfast Telegraph reported in August that film crews were spotted at the Antrim Hills near the seaport and market town of Larne (check out some of the film’s constructed sets here). The coronavirus pandemic delayed the crew from their original start date in March. Eggers was just days away from the start of filming when he was forced to quarantine in Belfast, Ireland following the production shutdown.
During an interview with Film Independent in April, Eggers touted “The Northman” as his most ambitious production to date. While filming did not take place in late spring and for the bulk of the summer, Eggers’ production team continued to work on props, costumes, and more for the large scale project.
“There’s a very small crew that is continuing to work on things,” Eggers said at the time. “Armor makers are working on armor for the characters. Prosthetics are being made. I’m doing my work with the DP [Jarin Blaschke] and the storyboard artist. There are things that need to be happening. Our location manager is constantly checking in on the locations, some of which are just now semi-built sets.”
Eggers added, “There’s many locations in the film, so we were constantly going on scouts to find places or reassess places that we have found and we’re building sets there. We’re designing all these worlds, building these villages, we’re making thousands of costumes and props, training the horses the things they’ll need to do, designing the shots of the films.”
Kidman revealed in October she would be filming her supporting role in “The Northman” for a couple weeks in November ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. “I’m pretty terrified right now,” Kidman told Collider about heading to “The Northman” set, adding, “I sound calm but you shouldn’t see what’s going on inside.”
Eggers’ cast has remained tight lipped on what fans can expect to see in “The Northman,” but Taylor-Joy did say last month that her writer-director has come up with something moviegoers have never seen before.
“Robert and I have now been friends longer than we have been co-workers,” Taylor-Joy said. “Getting the opportunity to create art together again is amazing. We have both grown so much apart and now we get to grow back together. I am so proud to be a part of this project. Every moment on set I am proud. I think we will be presenting to the world something it genuinely hasn’t seen before. I just feel so humbled I get to be a part of it.”
Focus Features will release “The Northman” domestically with Universal Pictures distributing internationally. New Regency previously co-financed Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” which was released internationally by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International. Lars Knudsen and Mark Huffam are attached as producers.