Robert Eggers, the director of the critically acclaimed independent films The Witch and The Lighthouse, returns with a considerably larger ensemble. The Northman brings together several of the cast members from his previous two films, along with a few more well-known actors, to create a vengeance story set in Viking times.
Amleth is played by Alexander Skarsgrd, a Viking prince who was a youngster when his father (Ethan Hawk) was murdered and his mother (Nicole Kidman) was kidnapped. Amleth, now an adult, is carrying out his vengeance with the help of enchantresses (Björk and Anya-Taylor Joy). Willem Dafoe (Heimer the Fool), who played wickie Thomas Wake in Eggers last film, The Lighthouse, is briefly featured in the film’s trailer. The Northman will also feature Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie, Taylor-puritan Joy’s parents from The Witch.
The Northman is a departure for Eggers, who is known for his more personal films. The filmmaker described the story’s beginnings in an interview with EW. “It’s basically Hamlet or The Lion King,” Eggers explained, “which was actually an old Norse myth where the Hamlet figure was called Amleth.” “In our own manner, we’ve told it.” It’s a Viking tale with magic, swords, mysticism, and everything else you’d expect from one.”
Eggers also told EW that he and Skarsgrd met because they were both frustrated with their desire to produce a Viking film. The filmmaker and performer sought to create something genuine, the polar opposite of how Vikings are generally depicted in popular culture. “Hocus Pocus had put the last nail in the coffin of witches being so terrifying,” Eggers added. “I wanted to say to The Witch, ‘Actually, let me show you what witches are like in real life.’ People believe they are familiar with Vikings. They recall Kirk Douglas’s 1958 Viking film The Vikings. They see cartoon characters wearing horn helmets or Vikings dressed as science-fiction rock stars on TV shows. “This is a unique situation.”
Sjón, an Icelandic author and poet whom Eggers met through common friend Björk, co-wrote the film with him.
In April 2022, The Northman will be released in cinemas.
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