‘The Northman’ Director Robert Eggers Explains Why His Style is ‘Antithetical’ to Making a Marvel Movie

The Northman director Robert Eggers became a popular filmmaker after his first two unique movies. The Witch and The Lighthouse are unlike many other horror films and that’s mainly because of the unique vision that Eggers brings to these movies. 

The same can be said about Eggers’ latest film, The Northman, but he did have to deal with a bit more studio interference. Eggers’ style often doesn’t cater to what a major studio would want, which is why he believes his version of making a movie is quite different than making a Marvel movie. 

‘The Northman’ is Robert Eggers’ first movie without A24

Director Robert Eggers attends the Los Angeles premiere of The Northman
Robert Eggers | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

A24 has become known for distributing artsy, independent horror movies. These horror movies typically land well with critics but garner a mixed reaction from audiences. Eggers’ first two movies, The Witch and The Lighthouse, were made with A24. While this means that the budget is a lot smaller, Eggers has more creative freedom. 

The Northman is Eggers’ first movie with an expensive budget of $90 million. The film is being distributed by Focus Features in the U.S. and Universal Pictures internationally. In an interview with The Playlist, Eggers knew he wouldn’t get “final cut” this time, but it was a risk he was willing to take to be allowed to make The Northman the way he wanted.  

“I knew when I gave the script to the studio that I was not going to have final cut on this movie,” Eggers said. “And that was a risk I was willing to take. The studio took a big risk on letting somebody who made two sensationalist arthouse movies to make a big f***ing Viking movie single-camera with all of his heads of departments.”

The director doesn’t believe a Marvel movie would work well with him

Eggers tells The Playlist that all of his movies have been self-generated projects so far. The Northman may have been edited or changed in some ways by a studio, but it is still something unique to Eggers. The director says that he has been approached to make other projects, but he doesn’t believe that these projects would work well with his style. This would include a major blockbuster like a Marvel movie. 

“I’ve only done self-generated work,” Eggers shared. “I understand how fortunate I am to be in that situation. People have come to me with stuff. Even though I didn’t have final cut, we went into this knowing it was a Robert Eggers movie, and all of what that’s going to be. I don’t see how that could be beneficial on a movie where I’m a director for hire. Everything I’m at doing is antithetical to making a Marvel movie.”

While Marvel doesn’t give its filmmakers complete creative control, the studio does put a lot of trust in its auteurs. For example, directors like Taika Waititi and the Russo Brothers had only worked on smaller projects or even television before being given the reins on massive studio productions like Thor: Ragnarok and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. These ended up being great successes for Marvel, proving that Marvel movies often benefit from having directors with artistic visions. 

‘The Northman’ is Robert Eggers’ biggest movie yet

The Northman is already receiving great reviews from critics, who are calling it visually spectacular and brutal. The movie stars Alexander Skarsgård as a Viking who is getting his revenge on the man who killed his father. The Viking film also stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Björk. 

The Northman sails into theaters on April 22. 

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