‘The Northman’ Director Robert Eggers ‘Can’t Stand Watching’ His First Movie ‘The Witch’

The Northman is the latest movie by writer-director Robert Eggers. Eggers became a director to watch after his first two films The Witch and The Lighthouse. Both are unique horror movies that are praised for their incredible cinematography, ambiguous storytelling, and haunting imagery. However, Eggers recently shared that he has a tough time watching The Witch, his directorial debut. 

‘The Witch’ made Robert Eggers a director to look out for

The Northman director Robert Eggers speaks at the AOL Build Speaker Series for his movie The Witch
Robert Eggers | Desiree Navarro/WireImage

The Witch debuted in 2015 and is written and directed by Eggers. In the movie, a family during the 1630s discovers a mysterious evil that is plaguing their farm and dividing their family. The cast includes Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, and Anya Taylor-Joy in her first film appearance. 

Upon release, The Witch received praise from critics but a mixed reaction from audiences as it isn’t necessarily a crowd-pleaser. It was distributed by A24, a studio that is associated with having more artsy and experimental horror films. Still, The Witch was a box office success, making $40 million on a $4 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo. Without the success of this movie, we may not have other films like The Lighthouse or The Northman

Robert Eggers ‘can’t stand’ watching his first movie

While The Witch is regarded highly by many horror fans, Eggers says he has a difficult time watching the movie. In an interview with The Guardian, Eggers explains that he doesn’t think the movie is bad, but The Witch was early in his career and he feels like he could do better now. 

“Honestly, I can’t stand watching The Witch now,” Eggers says. “It’s not that it’s bad, and the performances are great, but I was not skilled enough as a filmmaker to get what was in my brain onto the screen. In The Lighthouse, I was able to do that. And The Northman, I’m proud of the movie, but not everything is quite what I hoped it would be. So I would like to do something with the scope and scale that I can actually get what’s in my imagination onto the screen.”

His second film, The Lighthouse, had similar reactions as The Witch and it was also on a smaller scale. Eggers says he was able to craft the film he wanted with The Lighthouse which just proves how unique his vision is. The Northman appears to have his distinct vision, but it’s on a much larger and epic scale. 

‘The Northman’ is the directors’ biggest movie yet

The Northman is Eggers’ upcoming Viking revenge tale featuring Alexander Skarsgård, Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, and Willem Dafoe. The production of this film has a grand scale and features some awe-inspiring battles with practical effects. Eggers is working with his most expensive budget at $90 million. However, Eggers says he would like to go back to smaller projects after The Northman

“I certainly want to do something smaller next, and not just because of the pressure and the pain, which is super real,” Eggers tells The Guardian. “But also because I learned so much on The Northman, which was really a film that was way too big for my britches. And I finally feel like I actually know how to make a movie now, you know?”

With overwhelmingly positive reviews for The Northman, Robert Eggers has proven that he can create great cinema whether it’s a major studio project or an independent project. The Northman sails into theaters on April 22. 

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