It only takes a bit of “The Witch”-craft and enduring the natural elements for Anya Taylor-Joy to fully feel like herself.
The “Northman” star revealed to British Vogue that she “ecstatically” embraced the elements while shooting the Robert Eggers-helmed Viking revenge epic, which shot in Northern Ireland — including scenes involving standing barefoot in mud or ice-cold ocean water.
“I looked insane. So infuriatingly joyful,” said Taylor-Joy, who it’s noted carried her belongings around in a plastic shopping bag on set during such scenes.
Taylor-Joy likened reuniting with “The Witch” director Eggers, plus cinematographer Jarin Blaschke and editor Louise Ford, to being back with her “original film family.” And she had no problem jumping — literally — into the period piece.
“The stunt guys would say, ‘Can we get out of the water now?’ And I was like, ‘This is amazing. Nature! We’re outside! We get to make art,'” Taylor-Joy recalled. “I was [freezing] and if it didn’t look freezing [on-camera], I would have been pissed.”
In fact, Taylor-Joy felt more at home in the Irish wilderness than at star-studded Hollywood events.
“When I first started doing red carpets, I couldn’t handle the notion of being pretty. I was like, ‘I don’t do that. I don’t attempt it,'” the former model and current face of Dior admitted. “I am a scummy, mud-caked ferret and striving for anything different felt disingenuous and scary.”
“The Northman” stars Alexander Skarsgård as Prince Amleth, who vows to avenge his murdered father (Ethan Hawke) and rescue his kidnapped mother (Nicole Kidman). Eggers co-wrote the screenplay with Icelandic novelist and poet Sjón; the story is based on the same Scandinavian folk tale that inspired Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
Taylor-Joy plays Olga of the Birch Forest, who assists Prince Amleth while on her own path of vengeance. Willem Dafoe, Ralph Ineson, and Björk round out the ensemble cast.
The “Queen’s Gambit” alum previously told Total Film that “The Northman” relies on its authenticity, from costuming to the harsh landscape — but she wasn’t complaining.
“I’m not a complainer, and Rob [Eggers] and Jarin [Blaschke] know that, but there was one day when the mud was up to my knees, and it had frozen overnight, and I’m barefoot. It had got to a point where I think just squeaked out, ‘Please!’ And they were like, ‘Oh, OK, it’s bad. It’s really bad. We need to get this done. If Anya’s saying, ‘Can we please roll? I can’t stand here any longer…'”
“The Northman” premieres in theaters April 22.