Robert Eggers, the director behind acclaimed indie movies The Witch and The Lighthouse, is back, but with a much larger cast. The Northman combines some of the cast members from his previous two movies, adds a few more well-known actors, and tells a Viking tale of revenge.
Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth, a Viking prince who witnessed his father’s (Ethan Hawk) murder and his mother’s (Nicole Kidman) abduction when he was a child. Now an adult, Amleth is enacting his revenge with consultation from enchantresses (Björk and Anya-Taylor Joy). Briefly seen in the film’s trailer is Willem Dafoe (Heimer the Fool), seen in Eggers last film, The Lighthouse, as wickie Thomas Wake. Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie, Taylor-Joy’s puritan parents from The Witch, will also appear in The Northman.
Known for more intimate movies, The Northman is a step in a different direction for Eggers. In an interview with EW, the director explained the story’s origins. “It’s basically the story of Hamlet or The Lion King, which was originally an old Norse story where the Hamlet character was called Amleth,” said Eggers. “We’ve told it in our own way. It is a Viking saga with magic and swords and mysticism and all the stuff that you’d want from that.”
Eggers also told EW that he and Skarsgård came together over their mutual frustration over wanting to make a Viking movie. The director and actor wanted to build something authentic; the antithesis of how pop culture typically displays Vikings. “Hocus Pocus had kind of nailed the last nail in the coffin of witches being so scary,” said Eggers. “With The Witch, I wanted to say, ‘Actually, let me show you what witches are for real.’ People think that they know Vikings. They think of the Kirk Douglas Viking movie [1958’s The Vikings]. They think cartoon guys with horn helmets or certain TV shows where Vikings dress like science-fiction rock stars. This is something very different.”
Eggers co-wrote the film with Sjón, an Icelandic novelist and poet he met through mutual friend, Björk.
The Northman will hit theaters in April 2022.