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Alexander Skarsgård Transformed Into ‘an Absolute Beast’ for Robert Eggers’ ‘The Northman’

Eggers' new film includes at least one scene where Alexander Skarsgård rips open someone's mouth with his teeth.

Alexander Skarsgard

Alexander Skarsgard

Grant Pollard/Invision/AP

Robert Eggers is in post-production on his 10th century Viking epic “The Northman,” but cast member Ralph Ineson is not wasting any time in sharing his belief the film will be “a bit of a masterpiece.” Ineson starred in Eggers’ breakthrough directorial debut “The Witch” and now stars alongside Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Claes Bang, and Björk in “The Northman.” The project is Eggers’ third directorial feature and follows “The Lighthouse.”

“It’s an enormous movie,” Ineson recently told NME. “I saw a four-minute montage of some of the stuff they’d already shot and I was really blown away. The marriage of Rob Eggers’ imagination and Viking folklore…Jesus, man.”

“The Northman” stars Skarsgård in a Viking revenge saga set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century. Eggers co-wrote the script with Icelandic poet and novelist Sjón. In his interview with NME, Ineson teased Skarsgård’s monstrous physical transformation for the lead role.

“Alexander Skarsgård looks like an absolute beast,” Ineson said. “[There’s] a scene where he beats this guy in a battle; bends down and rips his throat out with his teeth, screams to the gods and he’s got his shirt off – and you think: ‘My god that’s not a bodybuilder doing a scene, that’s like a proper serious actor!’

“He’s made himself look like some kind of monster for the part, the dedication’s incredible,” Ineson concluded. “I think it will be a bit of a masterpiece, to be honest.”

Eggers has long touted “The Northman” as the biggest and most ambitious film of his career to date, which is saying something considering the laborious historical accuracy he brought to “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse.” The director told Film Independent last April that the scale of “The Northman” was so huge he had to change his prep process, bringing in other people for the first time to help him crack the look of the film as opposed to his normal process of crafting the look all by himself.

“We’re designing all these worlds, building these villages, we’re making thousands of costumes and props,” Eggers added at the time, hinting at the massive scope.

Focus Features will release “The Northman” domestically, while Universal Pictures will distribute internationally. No release date is set at this time.

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