Alexander Skarsgård Recalls The Northman Scene That Left Him ‘A Wreck,' And It Sounds Wild

Alexander Skarsgard as Amleth in The Northman
(Image credit: Focus Feature)

While writer/director Robert Eggers has only made two feature films, he has already well-established his reputation with an intense and visceral style. Both The Witch and The Lighthouse are gorgeous movies with brilliant visuals that also deliver long stares into obscene horrors. There is unquestionably an expectation for more of the same from his next movie, the Viking adventure The Northman, but star Alexander Skarsgård (who underwent an impressive physical transformation for the movie) has now painted a pretty striking picture that suggests the work may actually be Eggers' most nerve-shredding yet.

The Northman is now almost exactly one month away from hitting theaters domestically, and Skarsgård recently recounted his experience working on the movie in an interview with Empire. While he's spoken before about the madness of the shoot, he specifically highlighted one sequence in the period revenge drama that was took 30 takes to get perfect, and he noted that the work left him "truly a wreck." Said the actor,

It was the end of a very long, complex shot of the Viking berserkers raiding a Slav village. The choreography was so difficult, with all these elements, 50 people fighting simultaneously, the extras and the horses… making it look perfect was a real undertaking… That climax, where I rip a guy’s throat out and howl at the moon… it was primal. I just let it all out. I was exhausted, and I think you see it in the shot. I was a wreck. Truly a wreck.

When I think about throat ripping in movies, my brain immediately goes to either Patrick Swayze in Road House or Will Forte in the Macgruber series/movie, but it's exciting to think that The Northman will challenge them in my mind for throat-ripping supremacy. That is a seriously intense description of a sequence, and I can't wait to see it play out on the big screen.

And in case you need an even better taste of what this cinematic experience is going to deliver, you can watch its debut trailer from last December below:

Based on a medieval Scandinavian legend, The Northman stars Alexander Skarsgård as Amleth, a Viking prince born to Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) and King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke). When his father is killed, he goes on a mission to get revenge against those responsible – pushing himself to extreme limits in the process. The spectacular cast also includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Claes Bang, Björk, Ralph Ineson, and the always-excellent Willem Dafoe (who just worked with Robert Eggers on The Lighthouse).

The Northman has taken a long time to arrive, as it began filming in March 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down production. Once the gears started turning again, the movie wrapped principal photography in December 2020, and now it is being prepared to arrive in theaters on April 22. You can learn more about the movie via our Quick Things guide.

To discover everything else heading to the big screen and streaming for the rest of the year, check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.