crossing swords

Alexander Skarsgård’s nude battle scene in ‘The Northman’ wasn’t easy, “only hard”, director says

Alexander Skarsgård in ‘The Northman’

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 SkarsgårdNicole 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.

Related: Alexander Skarsgard Opens Up About The “Incredible” Gay Sex He’s Had

“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…