Just a week away from starting principal photography, Robert Eggers’ new Viking epic The Northman halted most of its production, with The Witch and The Lighthouse director explaining to Film Independent Coffee Talk that his cast and crew were assembling in Belfast and just about ready to go when the shutdown began.
“There’s a very small crew that is continuing to work on things,” Eggers explains. “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’ goes on to mention how this production differences from his first two films, The Witch and 2019’s Oscar-nominated The Lighthouse. He goes on to call this film’s scale “so huge” and “there are so many more locations and things that I couldn’t do everything or know every prop myself.”
“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,” he continues. “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. There’s a lot more storyboarding. Generally, I only storyboard the scenes that have visual effects or animals and stunts, things where all the departments need to be on the same page for it to work out. But this movie there is rarely a scene that isn’t on a boat or doesn’t have a lot of extras. We’re storyboarding most of the film, which is taking a lot of time, and we’re continuing to do that now on this hiatus.”
Specific plot details for The Northman are being kept under wraps, but Eggers has enlisted an incredible cast for the project including Nicole Kidman (Aquaman), Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Bill Skarsgård (It Chapter Two), Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), and Claes Bang (Dracula).
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