LONDON (Reuters) – Filmmaker Robert Eggers says his star-studded new revenge epic “The Northman” is both a great popcorn flick and a truthful depiction of Viking culture and mythology.
Set in 895, the film stars Alexander Skarsgard as the Viking prince Amleth, who flees his home in the North Atlantic after his uncle (Claes Bang) brutally kills his father, King Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke). .
Years later, Amleth, disguised as a slave, travels to Iceland where his uncle and mother, Queen Gudrun (Nicole Kidman) now live, to avenge his father’s murder and save his mother. Along the way, he meets a mysterious woman, Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), with whom he forms the first real human bond since childhood.
“There has never been an accurate Viking movie before, and I was working with the greatest historians and archaeologists in the field and, one thing is for sure, this is the most accurate Viking movie ever made,” Eggers said. . Reuters at the London premiere of the film.
“The Northman” is produced by Skarsgard, who had spent several years developing a Viking epic before meeting Eggers.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid growing up in Sweden surrounded by runestones,” he said.
Skarsgard, 45, underwent a physical transformation to play the burly Viking, working with his trainer “Tarzan” Magnus Lygdback.
“When Amleth transitions from his human state to his spirit animal, he becomes a hybrid of bear and wolf, so it was important to bulk up a bit and get a bit bigger,” he said.
The film’s violent, large-scale action scenes were a first for Eggers, who has previously directed two feature films, “The Lighthouse” and “The Witch.” It involved meticulous planning and organization to keep its hundreds of extras, stunt performers and animals on track.
“He likes authenticity, he likes very long shots, scenes without cuts. It’s quite difficult to film big, big action sets with one camera, one shot. So we had to rehearse many times and work on that choreography and the relationship between the characters and the camera,” Skarsgard said of the experience.
“The Northman,” which also features Icelandic singer Bjork in her first big-screen appearance in 17 years, hits cinemas around the world in April.
(Reporting by Hanna Rantala, editing by Rosalba O’Brien)