Robert Eggers & Alexander Skarsgård Discuss ‘The Northman,’ The Joy Of Research & More [The Discourse Podcast]

This week marks the physical release of one of the year’s best and most bruising films, “The Northman.” Directed by Robert Eggers, the film follows Viking Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) on a lifelong journey of revenge against to man who killed his father, stole his mother, and threw his life into ruin. “The Northman,” is a lot of movie: it’s a primal, visceral action film that should impress all-action heads, a meditative somber journey on the nature of revenge, making for a great emotional drama, and a psychedelic art film all rolled up into one and it’s easily one of the best movies of the year.

In celebration of the Blu-ray/DVD release this week, we’ve decided to share our contributor, Elena Lazic’s interviews with Robert Eggers and Alexander Skarsgård, who both worked tirelessly to make sure the film looks and feels as realistic as possible.

READ MORE: ‘The Northman’ Review: A Staggering Feat Of Visceral Filmmaking

“It’s just the approach that I enjoy. I enjoy the act of researching the way some people might enjoy skiing!” Eggers shared on his love of research. “I just like it. But it’s also a kind of discipline, and if the goal is to get inside the head of people in the Viking Age, then the way they expressed themselves in their clothing and their architecture needs to be right too, I think. And also, the atmosphere is an accumulation of details; it’s why we have the landscapes and the elements. The more visual information that can be on the edges, I think, makes the world more credible.”

But, that’s not to say that “The Northman” was Eggers’ passion project. Actually, Skarsgård has been trying to get a realistic Viking project off the ground as a producer for years.

“I’ve been surrounded by Viking culture since I was born,” Skarsgård said. “We had a house on Öland, one of the Swedish islands in the Baltic Sea. There are almost 200 big rune stones on the island, and I spent every summer there as a kid. Some of my earliest memories are from these amazing rune stones and looking at the Viking inscriptions on them, and my grandfather telling me stories about these Vikings and what these runes meant. That was the most amazing experience — to stand there, and the thought that a thousand years ago, a Viking stood here and erected this rune stone to commemorate his son or grandson down in Constantinople or somewhere else on a crazy expedition. So already at that point, I think, the dream of maybe one day telling one of those stories was born. It’s such a rich mythology. The Norse mythology, the Vikings, their relationship to nature and to the spiritual world — it was something that I felt was so rich. There was an opportunity to maybe tell that story. I’d never seen a film about the Viking Age that was a truthful depiction of the Vikings and also of their belief system. So that’s kind of how the journey started.”

“The Northman” is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, all VOD platforms, and is also available to stream on Peacock. You can listen to the entire conversations below:

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