Exclusive: Bill Skarsgård Drops Out of Robert Eggers’ Viking Epic ‘The Northman’

     September 4, 2020

Hot off the surprise hit of his sea-mad mind-trip The Lighthouse, director Robert Eggers next sets his sights on The Northman, a Viking-era revenge tale. Back in October of 2019, it was reported that brothers Alexander Skarsgård and Bill Skarsgård would join the cast, marking their first film together since Bill’s 2000 feature debut, White Water Fury. Alas, some bummer news: While speaking to Bill Skarsgård about Netflix’s The Devil All the Time, Collider confirmed that the actor had to drop out of Eggers’ film due to scheduling conflicts brought on by the COVID pandemic.

Here’s exactly what Skarsgård said:

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Image via Hulu

“No, unfortunately. It’s been a scheduling nightmare during COVID. It is what it is. It’s a big shame. Eggers is one of the great filmmakers out there and working with my brother…I don’t want to talk about it, it’s going to make me burst into tears.”

Egers has lined himself up a heck of a cast for The Northman. In addition to Alexander Skarsgård, Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman is set to star, along with The Lighhouse star Willem Dafoe and Anya Taylor-Joy, who shot to stardom in 2015 thanks to Eggers’ feature-directing debut, The Witch. Eggers reportedly co-wrote The Northman with  Icelandic poet/novelist Sjón.

As opposed to his first two, mostyl-contained features, Eggers has said The Northman is so expansive in scope that he had to change his usual hyper-focused attention to detail. Here’s what the filmmaker said back in April:

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Image via A24

“There’s many locations in the film, so we were constantly going on scouts to find places or reassess places that we have found and we’re building sets there. We’re designing all these worlds, building these villages, we’re making thousands of costumes and props, training the horses the things they’ll need to do, designing the shots of the films. There’s a lot more storyboarding. Generally I only storyboard the scenes that have visual effects or animals and stunts, things where all the departments need to be on the same page for it to work out. But this movie there is rarely a scene that isn’t on a boat or doesn’t have a lot of extras. We’re storyboarding most of the film, which is taking a lot of time.”

Be on the lookout for the rest of our interview with Bill Skarsgård, and check out exactly what he had to say about The Northman in the player above. For more on Eggers’ new film, here’s our latest interview with the director.

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