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Apparently Alexander Skarsgård Wanted To Make A Viking Movie For Years Before Landing The Northman

A still of Alexander Skarsgård in The Northman.
(Image credit: A24)

Once upon a time, Alexander Skarsgård played the role of a former Viking-turned \-vampire in the racy HBO series True Blood. Now Skarsgård is actually playing a full blown, totally-ripped Viking prince-turned-berserker in Robert Eggers’ recently released The Northman. It seems like we’ve kind of come full circle here, but apparently the actor would have liked to make a Viking movie way sooner than when he landed The Northman.

Alexander Skarsgård sat down with Vanity Fair ahead of The Northman’s release to talk about all things Viking, and being the Swede that he is, he obviously loves Norse culture and mythology. Apparently the Big Little Lies star has always been dreaming big when it comes to the Vikings, and has always wanted to make a Viking epic with odes to real history and mythology throughout. In his words:

I had this this dream of one day making a big, epic Viking movie, but based on an old Icelandic saga.

Alexander Skarsgård told of a time in his younger years when his father, Stellan Skarsgård (who has his own extraordinary film career) and mother allowed him to pick his younger siblings’ (of which there are MANY) middle names. He proceeded to give them old Norse names, and I’m compelled to believe that his brothers are probably glad their parents didn’t give Skarsgård first naming rights.

Alexander Skarsgård wasn't alone with having this love for Norse culture and the dream of creating a great Viking epic. As luck would have it, he would meet director Robert Eggers, who coincidentally also spent his career hoping to make “the ultimate Viking movie.” Together, they have created something full of passion and a grounded, historically accurate Viking film.

A ton of work went into The Northman; filming the scenes were apparently pretty brutal, and so was the training it took for Alexander Skarsgård to appear the perfect Viking berserker. What a transformation it truly was for Skarsgård, because even though he was known as “Dude Who Takes His Shirt off” in films, he looks completely different when he takes even more off in The Northman.

Alexander Skarsgård may have played a character named Northman in HBO’s True Blood, but he was able to live out a life-long fantasy of being a full blooded Viking - or at least playing one on screen in The Northman. That’s the kind of passion behind a movie that ends up making great cinema.

The Northman is among the latest of the 2022 movie releases, and you can see the fruits of Alexander Skarsgård and Robert Eggers’ labor in theaters now, for which Skarsgård has already received a lot of praise. The film is pretty much unlike any other Viking movie out there, and that just may come from the years worth of manifestations of those involved. Even if that's not the case, years of boyhood and young adult dreams are certainly worth a couple hours of your time at the theater.