Director Robert Eggers, whose latest film The Northman debuts in theatres this week, has addressed his approach to one of the movie’s most jaw-dropping scenes… and how he managed to shoot it without anyone having “their bits chopped off.”
Eggers first rocketed to fame with his surreal horror films The Witch and The Lighthouse. The Northman, which stars Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Claes Bang, and Björk, follows the story of a Viking prince on a quest to avenge his father’s murder.
The movie culminates with an epic swordfight between Bang and Skarsgård… in which their characters appear totally nude.
Talk about an insurance nightmare!
Now, Eggers has opened up about shooting the scene to The Hollywood Reporter, and the incredible effort it took to keep both actors safe while filming.
“If it’s not a Viking raid of a village with hundreds of extras of stuntmen, horses, cows, chickens, geese, children, then it was a storm at sea at night on a Viking ship, or a naked sword fight on a volcano,” he says of the movie. “I mean, there was nothing easy about making this movie. It was only hard.”
When it comes to the climactic duel, Eggers claimed he and the crew actually had to use computer graphics to add to the nakedness of Blang and Skarsgård, rather than digitally censor the scene.
“We actually had to add things digitally because they were wearing thongs [instead of being naked] because no one wanted to get their bits chopped off,” he said. “So, we actually had to add some CG genitals for certain shots so that they didn’t look too Ken doll-ish. You’ve got to make it look real, so I’m sure we did some full-body scans of Alex. They’re out there.”
We seriously hope those scans end up as special features on the Blu-Ray.
The Northman debuts in theatres April 22, though Twitter is already reacting to the copious amounts of nudity in the movie from preview screenings. Have a look at some of our favorite reactions…
The Northman is a movie which contains a naked Viking duel at the Gates Of Hell—I mean, I don’t know what else to tell you. 10/10 I hope this makes a billion dollars.
— Dan Sarath (@danielsarath) April 18, 2022
? It has been an axe and fire kind of afternoon watching The Northman. Casting Björk as the eyeless seer was genius. And Shakespeare's adaptation (Hamlet) was lacking a naked sword battle in an Icelandic volcano. Not for the faint-hearted. But very good ? pic.twitter.com/gm2Idha7LN
— Nicola Burrows ? (@NicolaB_73) April 20, 2022
Northman? All I know about that film is that there’s a naked volcano fight in it. Seems pretty well-dressed in this pic if that’s the sort tomfoolery going on in that movie.
— Mark Bowsher (@MarkBowsherFilm) April 19, 2022
willem dafoe gets naked in the northman
— pretty hate machine (@femalebruce) April 17, 2022
The Northman is utterly fantastic in every possible way a film can be. Deeply obsessed. If you enjoy cut, semi naked men going absolutely fucking feral, then this is the film for you x
— leoni horton ? (@inoelshikari) April 17, 2022
The Northman was pretty cool, I don’t think you can ask more from a film than two naked men fighting in a volcano
— Dan (@lalallewyn) April 16, 2022
Clara's review of The Northman was that, especially after just watching Eastern Promises, the naked fight scenes did not have enough cock.
— esmé (@esmesayss) April 15, 2022