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The Northman director Robert Eggers thinks people should watch more than superhero movies

The Northman director Robert Eggers thinks people should watch more than superhero movies

Is it Robert Eggers? Endangered Species,

The 38-year-old director took training in making stylized arthouse films like horror-tinged fables Witchwho earned robert eggers Best Director Award at Sundance Film FestivalYou Electricity houseA black and white psychic marvel starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe.

Usually, this is a turning point at which a typical filmmaker To make a superhero movie softens his sensibilities Or switch to a streaming service for creative control with a bigger budget.

Instead, Eggers filmed answer man, A 70 Million Dollar Viking Saga Which premiered in Argentina on Thursday, April 21.

"The Man from the North" director Robert Eggers is facing his first major commercial success.  Fotolu Benoist/AFP

“The Man from the North” director Robert Eggers is facing his first major commercial success. Fotolu Benoist/AFP

Film stars alexander skarsgard As Amleth, a sword-wielding prince seeking revenge on the uncle who killed his father (Ethan Hawke) and flees with her mother (Nicole Kidman) to a remote Icelandic town. Although the story is more direct than in Eggers’ previous films, the achievement is no less lofty.

occupational hazard

“One must have ego to be a director”Eggers said over coffee in Los Angeles. “It’s a crazy thing: you have to Deny reality and make your own own”.

Actually, nothing was easy to make north man, from staging his massive battle on location to the director’s clashes with production company New Regency over creative control. Even when the film was set to shoot in March 2020, the pandemic delayed the production for several months.

Still, that latest hiccup came with a few small benefits: outdoor sets were allowed to actually go out in the open, and the Viking beard had time to grow out longer, though Eggers plucked his own facial hair. carefully prepared, it got out of hand.

“The director should never have the longest beard,” he said. “I learned it when I was shooting Electricity house: You must have an alpha beard.”

in his own words

On the way to this interview, I came across two commercials for your film. I must imagine that this is a new experience for you.

-It’s definitely real. I didn’t expect that in the last 10 or 15 years of my life, I am going to make a film that gets such publicity.

A scene from the movie "The Man from the North", a Viking saga worth $70 million.

A scene from the movie “The Man from the North”, a Viking saga worth $70 million.

-Why not?

-Because since I became less interested in the traditional, about 10 years old, I didn’t think I would make a film for a wider audience, I’m excited that I did, and it was a deliberate choice.

– Were you surprised by the public that your first two films received?

-I thought that Witch (2016) will get some distribution and hopefully enough good reviews that maybe someone will let me do another film. I didn’t expect a boring Pilgrim horror movie to be a successthat’s for sure.

Do you think your film is boring?

,hate WitchBut that is another story, But in principle, no, I do not find such a film boring. In fact, I happily watch movies that are a lot duller than my two films.

-But it sounds like you have the self-awareness to be able to say, “That’s how my work can be perceived by the general public.”

,Witch There have been many abuses for false marketing of a horror film. I mean, I think it’s a horror movie, but I can understand that people who were looking for a certain formula will not be satisfied, but with north man It’s a challenge, because I’m trying to do both.

With "The Witch", Robert Eggers won the Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival.

With “The Witch”, Robert Eggers won the Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival.

– How do you thread that needle? Where do your sensibilities intersect with the mainstream?

You want something that’s familiar enough for people to understand, but different enough to be something new, and I think that’s what everyone was looking for with this movie.

And the best thing for me is Source materials are really readable and accessible texts, I know kids don’t come to Barnes & Noble to get copies of Icelandic sagas, but a lot of medieval literature is just too weird and mysterious and out of place, and this stuff isn’t.

free, with budget

It is increasingly rare that a filmmaker with his own experience is in charge of such a high-budget film, unless he is in charge of some already existing franchise.

,I knew I wouldn’t get the final cut Because of the size of the film. It was a risk I was willing to take, but post-production was tough because I had pressure and voice from the studio that I’d never done before.

in Witch, I had ratings from investors – good and bad – and also with The Lighthouse (2019), but there was a lot of pressure here. “It’s our responsibility to interpret studio notes in a way that we’re proud of. And if we can’t do that, we’re not working hard enough,” said my co-author Sjon.

I also feel that without pressure from the studio, I would not have been able to deliver what I proposed, which was “Robert Eggers’ most entertaining film”, because entertainment isn’t necessarily my first instinct,

In fact, with my first two films, it was my 5th or 15th priority, whereas here it was #1. In the end, although it was painful and I had a lot of gray hair, I am grateful for the pressure of the studio to get this film to chart. The director’s cut won’t be on Blu-ray the way it is. this is the movie i wanted to make,

Anya Taylor-Joy in "The Northman" by Robert Eggers.

Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Northman” by Robert Eggers.

– What did you learn by doing this?

-Everything. This is the first time I’m really feeling like a filmmakerAfter making this film.

Don’t you feel that way after finishing your other films?

-Don’t do that. I felt like I was trying to convince people that I am a filmmaker. I’m not saying it isn’t – in fact, I’m quite proud of it Electricity house-, but now I feel that I can shoot just one movie, and it will not be so bad. This film has given me a more complete understanding of the process that I have never done before.

a risky film

Robert Eggers believes he graduated as a film director with "The Man from the North".  PhotoLoic Venance/AFP

Robert Eggers believes he graduated as a film director with “The Man from the North”. PhotoLoic Venance/AFP

-Tell me what level of challenges you faced north man,

-We did a lot, from massive raids on a city with hundreds of extras and stuntmen and horses and cows, to a storm at sea on a Viking ship at night, in a sequence so distant that the cast did To arrive by helicopter.

When we finished, Ethan Hawke hugged me and Zarine (Blashke, cinematographer) and said, “Congratulations. He has done everything that can be done in a movieSo now they can do anything.” Of course, when he left, Zareen and I said, “Yeah, now we’re ready to do this film.”

The attack on the village is captured in a long and intricately choreographed shot. When there’s so much chaos and the actors have to make their every move with such precision, how does it feel when you know you’ve finally made it?

-It’s the best feeling, and I got used to squeezing the monitor to take a shot. Many scenes have been planned because I have turned three or four scenes into one, partly because I have become accustomed to working like this. If it’s not the best way to tell the scene, you shouldn’t, but when it could have been done, we did it because there’s a discipline to it.

— and I’m sure those shots are even harder to get when shooting outside in harsh weather rather than in a controlled studio.

Look, making movies is not easy. with my movies I deliberately try to find the hardest and most brutal places I can roll them. Because that’s what the story demands. It makes everything more difficult for everyone, but it’s worth it. I like challenges. If it were easy, I wouldn’t want to do it.

Before becoming a film director, he worked in theater production. Does it affect the way you work with your actors now?

,i should be an actor director but sometimes i get naughty, Alexander Skarsgard felt treated like a robot for the first two weeks, but then understood why he was directing that way.

Were you disappointed to be given such specific instructions?

-Yes. And also, I don’t allow myself to do a lot of conversational work – talking about his character and how he grew up and all that. When it comes to acting, I’m more interested in doing than talking.

– It’s interesting, because you do a lot of research when you imagine your world. I guess I would sympathize with an actor who wants to do the same research for his character.

Yes, but I also think that this is his job. with Electricity housePattinson would sometimes say, “Is this or that?” And I was like, “You know what? Pick the one that works for you, but you have to do this scene 25% faster.”

– How did you work with Alexander Skarsgard? This is a level of insanity that I have never seen from him on screen. Personally, he’s surprisingly calm, dare I even say gullible.

-He is the sweetest and most gullible man. Alex has been fond of Vikings since childhood, so he was passionate about it, and he sought perfection himself.

For the first two weeks, he was trying to understand how Zarine and I acted, and he was disappointed, but once we did the scene in which he performs a shamanic battle dance, things changed. I feel that the anger, the madness and the vulnerability that I needed to show was something open. And then for the rest of the shoot, every shot was great.

Robert Eggers wants to give audiences more than just superhero movies.  Fotolu Benoist/AFP

Robert Eggers wants to give audiences more than just superhero movies. Fotolu Benoist/AFP

To what extent are you interested in the box office performance of this film?

-very. Due to the COVID pandemic, people may be speculating that he is not going to do what everyone wants, but the fact that this film has been made – the fact that me and my team need to make a great film. Granted that is not a superhero franchise. A success in itself.

I’m incredibly humbled and excited by the initial reviews, which are so positive, but even if you totally dislike this film, I think it’s society’s responsibility to support it a little bit because other filmmakers feel like it. should be given the opportunity to The public should have the opportunity to see things other than superhero movies,

I’m not even ridiculing superhero movies, but there should be room for something else.

Source: The New York Times

Translation: Patricia Sar


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