Things You Should Know Before Watching ‘The Northman’

The Vikings were a group of Scandinavian warriors who left their homelands to raid, settle, and explore new lands all over the world. They traveled through Europe, North America, and the UK. Before they were written down, they utilized poems, songs, stories, and carved runestones to pass down their battles and heroic tales of conquest. Through their maritime routes, navigation, and adoption of the word ‘Bluetooth,’ they have had a huge impact on the world.

The Viking tales and stories from Norse Mythology have been adapted into several films and television series. Here’s all you need to know before embarking on an incredible adventure in the upcoming film ‘The Northman’, releasing in theaters on April 22, 2022.

What is ‘The Northman’ about?

In this epic historical action-adventure film, a young Prince Amleth witnesses his father’s horrific murder at the hands of his uncle Fjölnir. After fleeing his kingdom to avoid execution, he returns decades later as a Viking. His purpose, however, is to reclaim his kingdom by saving his mother and killing his uncle in order to avenge his father’s death. In his conquest, he earns the favor of Olga, a sorceress from the forest.

As seen in the trailer, the film will also incorporate Viking rituals, shield maidens, spear-bearing and steed riding Valkyrie, and Odin.

Behind The Lens

Along with American film director Robert Eggers is Icelandic novelist, screenwriter, and poet Sjón. So far, Robert Egger’s films as a director have all been historical pieces based. He is recognized for paying close attention to the details of his film sets, ensuring that they are appropriate for the period. This includes the dialogue, costumes, accessories, and other elements screen onscreen.

Some of the scenes in his works are based on real-life events, logs, and other writings. His film ‘The Lighthouse,’ set in the 1800s, is based on a true story and contains references to the Greek mythological character of Prometheus, while ‘The Witch,‘ set in the 1600s, alludes to the Salem witch trials. 

In a recent interview with The Guardian, speaking of his filmmaking movies he said, “Honestly, I can’t stand watching ‘The Witch’ now. It’s not that it’s bad, and the performances are great, but I was not skilled enough as a filmmaker to get what was in my brain on to the screen. In ‘The Lighthouse’, I was able to do that. And ‘The Northman’, I’m proud of the movie, but not everything is quite what I hoped it would be. So I would like to do something with the scope and scale that I can actually get what’s in my imagination onto the screen”.

Did You Know?

Prince Amleth is said to be the inspiration behind William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’. 

Cast

This cast is jam-packed with A-listers, some of whom have already worked with each other as well as with Eggers before. Alexander Skarsgård will be seen in the role of Prince Amleth. Skarsgård is no stranger to dawning roles in fantastical films, having played a realistic adaption of Tarzan in ‘The Legend of Tarzan‘ (2016) with Fantastic Beast Director David Yates and going toe-to-toe with Kong in ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ (2021).

Hailing from a Swedish family rooted in Hollywood, Alexander would not have needed to seek far for inspiration, as his real-life brother Gustaf Skarsgård played Floki – the boatbuilder, in six seasons of the epic drama series ‘Vikings.’

Oscar-winning and BAFTA-winning Nicole Kidman play the role of Queen Gudrún, Amleth’s mother. She earned herself a Primetime Emmy Award in the category ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie’ for ‘Big Little Lies’ (2017), in which she and Alexander Skarsgård were co-stars. 

In a role that requires her to play a Queen mother, she is no outsider, having portrayed Queen Atlanna in ‘Aquaman’ (2018) – she will be seen again in its sequel. As mentioned in an interview on the entertainment column Page Six, Kidman expressed, “I like playing mothers. My maternal force is probably my strongest energy in the world. It’s my life. Where I resonate right now”. 

She is joined by her ‘Aquaman’ co-star William Defoe, who will be playing Heimir – the Fool. Fans can expect The Green Goblin actor to pull off another epic period dialogue sequence as he did in Eggers’s other film, ‘The Lighthouse’. Rounding up the Royal Family is Ethan Hawke as King Aurvandill War-Raven, a character inspired by Norse and German Mythology.

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ (2020) star Anya Taylor-Joy reunites with Eggers after playing the lead role in her debut period horror film ‘The Witch’ (2015). Speaking with Entertainment Channel Digital Spy on the filming of the movie, Taylor-Joy commented saying, “the nature of it being ‘difficult’ in terms of what we were dealing with naturally made it not hard work to play the scenes because all you had to do is exist, everything going on around you is happening in real-time. That was something, when I first read the script, I was really excited about”.

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Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk will be playing a seer in the film. A prophetic being who serves as a divine mediator between Gods and Man.

‘Game of Thrones’ fans will get to see some of its cast members return to a fantasy film. They include Kate Dickie, who was also cast in ‘The Witch ‘ (2015), Murray McArthur, Ian Whyte, and strong man Hafþór Björnsson. Completing the cast are actors Claes Bang playing Fjölnir, King Aurvandill’s brother, Gustav Lindh, and Ralph Ineson.

Although Robert Eggers’ films are set in different periods and include genres such as horror, supernatural, fantasy, and historical epics, movie buffs and internet sleuths have been racking their brains and doing deep dives into determining their connectivity and the possibility of the films being part of a shared universe.

‘The Northman’, currently has an 8.5 rating on IMDB and is certified fresh with an 88% rating on the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes based on 49 Reviews.

 

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