If one thing is clear from the trailers of Ari Aster's new movie Midsommar, it's that the movie looks absolutely brutal. While there's little in the promotion that looks like traditional horror, there is a clear sense of foreboding that permeates everything that we've seen in the new movie. While the end result of Midsommar looks rough, in all the best ways, it seems that making it look that way was no cake walk either, as William Jackson Harper admits the film shoot was very hard, both because of the location, and also the director.
While Midsommar is set mostly in Sweden, the filming was actually done in Hungary. Conditions outside Budapest apparently weren't the greatest, as Harper tells EW that spending all day outside in the heat wasn't fun. Add to that the fact that the fields were apparently full of terrifying looking spiders, and you apparently could have turned the filming of Midsommar into an entirely new horror movie.
It was hard, it was hard. I mean, we were basically in this field all day, every day. It was hot, and there were wasps and spiders, these big weird spiders, with these green abdomens, that I had never seen before that I was sure was going to kill me. So, it was tough, it was a very arduous shoot.
Even if you don't have a serious problem with spiders or other creepy critters, seeing an entirely new breed that you're unfamiliar with can certainly make you nervous. And green is sort of the universal symbol for, "this thing is poison" so even if they were harmless, it doesn't mean it's easy to convince yourself that they were harmless.
If the heat and the spiders weren't enough on their own, there was one other thing that made filming Midsommar tough, the director. William Jackson Harper says that Ari Aster is simply the kind of director who knows exactly what he wants, and isn't going to stop until he gets it, so the cast had to do a lot of takes in order to get everything just right, which meant that much more time spent out in the heat and the spiders.
The thing is, Ari’s very specific about what he wants things to look like, and so we would do these long wide shots over and over and over and over and over again, until we got it exactly right. So, yeah, it was taxing. We had to make sure that we fit ourselves into this visual vocabulary.
If Hereditary is any indication, Ari Aster getting exactly what he wants is a good thing if you're a fan of horror movies. Based on the reviews, Midsommar is very much more of what fans are likely hoping the director's follow up feature would be. The cast even needed time to process the final film after seeing it for the first time.
Acting looks like a pretty glamorous job a lot of the time, and a lot of the time it probably is. However, there are always going to be times when it is less so.In the end, hopefully it was all worth it and the less than ideal conditions led to a great film.
Midsommar hits theaters Wednesday.