‘The Northman’: Alexander Skarsgård Was ‘So Exhausted That You Want to Cry’ After Working With Director Robert Eggers

The Witch filmmaker Robert Eggers is delivering his next feature with The Northman. The epic historical film also delivers an impressive cast. However, the filming wasn’t so easy for some of them. The Northman actor Alexander Skarsgård explained why he was so exhausted after working with Eggers that he wanted to cry.

Alexander Skarsgård plays Amleth in ‘The Northman’

'The Northman' actor Alexander Skarsgård wearing all white
Alexander Skarsgård | Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Eggers directs a screenplay that he wrote alongside Sjón. The story is set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century. Skarsgård plays Amleth, the Viking warrior prince. He seeks out revenge for the death of his father. Amleth is willing to go however far as necessarily to ensure that he’s able to serve his style of justice.

The Northman finds Skarsgård alongside an impressive cast, including Nicole Kidman and Anya Taylor-Joy. Other cast members include Ethane Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe. Distributor Focus Features plans to release The Northman on April 22.

Alexander Skarsgård was so exhausted that he wanted to cry after working with Robert Eggers

Interview Magazine set up an interview between The Northman‘s Skarsgård and The Power of the Dog actor Kirsten Dunst. She asked him about his experience filming with Eggers on the upcoming epic. Skarsgård has extensive experience as an actor, but The Northman was still a challenge.

“In The Northman, there are long, intense fight scenes with 40 stuntmen and horses and 200 extras,” Skarsgård said. “To shoot it all in one shot means you do this four-minute take, and then a horse deep in the background looks the wrong way and you have to do it all again.”

Dunst replied that his experience sounds like her “worst nightmare.”

Skarsgård continued: “You’re so exhausted that you want to cry. You feel like you finally got all the choreography of the fight worked out, but then you have to go again and again and again. There’s always something in the background that wasn’t quite right. The flip side of that is when you finally get it, it feels like winning gold at the Olympics.”

Dunst commented, “He sounds like a perfectionist.” The Northman actor still deeply admires Eggers, regardless of the exhausting experience on the set.

“He absolutely is,” Skarsgård said. “But he’s also a genius. The Northman was the first time I worked on something that was so meticulously stylized, and you almost had to see it as a dance between the camera and the actors, because the camera was constantly moving, and so were we.”

Skarsgård concluded: “If the timing was slightly off, then we’d have to go again. I’ve never been more tired than after those six months.

‘The Northman’ is Robert Eggers’ first film since ‘The Lighthouse’

The Northman marks Eggers’ first film since working on The Lighthouse. That film also brings Dafoe to the silver screen in a role that many audiences thought would earn an Oscar nomination. However, he didn’t manage to make it quite that far. The Lighthouse earned an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Cinematography.

Eggers also previously worked with Taylor-Joy on the Sundance Film Festival hit film The Witch. Fans of his previous work are understandably excited to see what the filmmaker will deliver next with both new and familiar faces on the cast.

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