‘The Northman’: Why Bill Skarsgård ‘Burst into Tears’ Over the Movie

The Northman might be co-writer/director Robert Eggers’ third film. But with both of his previous moviesThe Witch and The Lighthouse — falling firmly into the horror genre, the filmmaker steps into new territory with his latest release. Fans and critics alike are excited to see what Eggers brings to the Viking action drama. 2022’s The Northman even caused actor Bill Skarsgård (It, It: Chapter Two) to “burst into tears” over the movie. Here’s why.

Bill Skarsgård wears a brown jacket and looks directly into the camera.
Bill Skarsgård | Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Alexander Skarsgård stars in ‘The Northman’

The Northman stars a member of the Skarsgård family. But it isn’t Bill Skarsgård. Rather, his brother, Alexander Skarsgård, takes on the lead role as Amleth, a Viking warrior prince out to avenge his father’s murder. The film marks the latest in a string of high-profile roles for the actor, who’s perhaps best known for his work on HBO series Big Little Lies.

Skarsgård has been making some major moves in Hollywood in recent years. In 2021, he appeared in the critically acclaimed drama Passing as well as blockbuster hit Godzilla vs. Kong. In addition to Skarsgård, Eggers’ film features an ensemble cast that also includes Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe.

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

Bill Skarsgård has complex emotions about it

So with such a promising ensemble and a gifted filmmaker at the helm, why would Bill Skarsgård be broken up about The Northman? As it turns out, the actor was originally cast to appear in the movie opposite his older brother. But that initial deal fell apart due to scheduling conflicts that resulted from the pandemic.

“It’s been a scheduling nightmare during COVID. It is what it is,” Bill Skarsgård told Collider in September 2020 about whether he’s involved in The Northman. “It’s a big shame. Eggers is one of the great filmmakers out there and working with my brother … I don’t want to talk about it. It’s going to make me burst into tears.”

Will the two actors star together again soon?

Bill Skarsgård would have played Thorir the Proud in The Northman, a role that ultimately went to Gustav Lindh. Bill Skarsgård and Alexander Skarsgård last shared the screen in the former’s very first movie, 2000 Swedish thriller White Water Fury. So it’s easy to see why missing out on The Northman might be a sensitive subject for Bill Skarsgård.

Still, as fun as it would have been to see the Skarsgård brothers together again, perhaps fans might not have to wait long. Both men are extraordinarily busy, but maybe after this near-collaboration, they’ll be on the lookout for a film they can star in together. In the meantime, fans can see Alexander Skarsgård in his latest film, The Northman, and catch Bill Skarsgård next in 2023’s John Wick: Chapter 4.

RELATED: Alexander Skarsgård’s Amleth Shares Ominous Plan in ‘The Northman’: ‘I Will Haunt This Farm’