The Northman London Film Premiere 2022

The Viking Age. With a mind aflame with hate and revenge, Prince Amleth, the wronged son of King Aurvandill War-Raven, heads to cold, windswept Iceland to retrieve what was stolen from him: a father, a mother, and a kingdom. And like a war dog picking up the enemy's scent, brutal Amleth embarks on a murderous quest to find the hateful adversary, whose life is forever woven together with his by the threads of fate. Now, in the name of Valhalla, no one can stop the Northman, not even God.

The Northman poster

From visionary director Robert Eggers comes The Northman, an action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father's murder.

The Northman London Premieres SPECIAL SCREENING

  • Status: Confirmed
  • Date:April 5, 2022
  • Location:
  • Attended by: Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Björk, Robert Eggers
  • Release in Cinemas: 2022-04-22
  • Rating: 7.2
  • Runtime: 137 minutes

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The Northman Trailer

Did you know ... ?

  1. After shooting wrapped, several of the actors received gifts from the set. Nicole Kidman received a sword. Willem Dafoe received a real-life longship. Björk received three horses. Alexander Skarsgård received the blood-stained thong he wore for a week while shooting the final scene of the film, in a frame.
  2. Director Robert Eggers worked with historians and did meticulous research into the period, to make sets, costumes and props as authentic as possible, while also going back to a period before Christianity influenced Viking culture. Professor Neil Price, archaeologist at Uppsala University in Sweden who worked on the movie, later stated that "the Northman might be the most accurate Viking movie ever made." Eggers did admit that there were few historic references for Amleth's initiation ritual, making it "probably the most fictional ritual in the movie."
  3. Although director Robert Eggers didn't have final cut and had to make several studio-mandated changes to the movie during post-production, he still expressed his satisfaction with the finished product. However, he admitted that editing the movie was the most painful experience of his life, making this possibly a one-off experience. "Frankly, I don't think I will do it again. Even if it means, like, not making a film this big ever again. And, by the way, I'd like to make a film this big. I'd like to make one even bigger. But, without control, I don't know. It's too hard on my person."
  4. Most of the title card runes do not match the subtitled translation; rather, they use a period accurate term. The runic title cards read: Hrafnsey - Raven Island (North Atlantic) Garðariki - Kyvian Rus' (Land of the Rus) Ísland - Iceland (Iceland) Draugsþatr - Draug's chapter (The Night Blade Feeds) Helgrindi - Hell-Gate (The Gates of Hell) Amloðasaga - Saga of Amleth (The Northman).
  5. In the scene in which the Úlfhéðnar attack the Slavic town, Amleth catches a spear in midair and throws it back at the Slavs in one movement. This is taken from the medieval Icelandic story of Njáls saga in which Audolf throws a spear at the Viking hero Gunnar, but Gunnar catches it in midair and throws it straight through Audolf and his shield.
  6. The film is set in 914 AD, during the early settlement of Iceland, also known as the "landnámsöld" (literally "age of land-taking"), before the establishment of the Althing.
  7. The plot is very loosely based on the story of Amleth, which appears in the Gesta Danorum (History of the Danes), a collection of oral traditions written around 1200 by Saxo Grammaticus. Amleth inspired Shakespeare's Hamlet, though it is doubtful that Shakespeare read Grammaticus directly.
  8. Originally, the second chapter took part in the British Isles, but this idea was vetoed by Alexander Skarsgård because he thought there was too much viking fiction taking place in the British Isles and suggested Amleth going east instead.
  9. The Valkyrja's dental markings are based on bodies in Viking graves with horizontal lines carved into the teeth. The practice was particularly common on the island of Gotland. The principal theory is that the carvings were decorations, filled with colored pigment.
  10. Ingvar Sigurdsson learned to throat sing for his role as the He-Witch.
  11. Queen Gudrun's headpiece is of Finnish design. It's intended to be loot from one of Aurvandil's wars.
  12. The Sorcerer holds onto a preserved human head. According to myth, Odin was a student of Mimir. When Mimir was decapitated by Odin's rival gods, Odin pickled Mimir's decapitated head and reanimated it with magic so Mimir could continue to teach him.
  13. The Valkyrie wears a helmet with a bronze swan as decoration. In Norse Mythology Valkyries would assume the shape of swans.
  14. Among the changes that the studio demanded to the initial cuts were a more streamlined opening act, and the insertion of title cards so that audiences could keep some track of the time that elapsed. Director Robert Eggers commented that "I think I've delivered the most entertaining version. The most entertaining version is not necessarily something I'm usually striving for. But it was here, you know, and it happened." Director Alfonso Cuarón, who was a fan of Eggers' The Witch (2015), also approved of the final cut.
  15. Due to this being his first big studio film, it was the first time that director Robert Eggers didn't have final cut, but it was "a risk that [he] was willing to take". In a New York Times interview, Eggers, who was used to some small suggestions from investors on his smaller movies The Witch (2015) and The Lighthouse (2019), admitted that he experienced heavy pressure from New Regency studio during post-production, based on feedback from test audiences who had trouble understanding the movie. However, co-writer Sjón told him that "it's our responsibility to interpret the studio notes in a way that we're proud of. And if we can't do that, then we're not working hard enough." In the end, Eggers stated that although the editing process was punishing, without the studio's notes he couldn't have delivered "the most entertaining Robert Eggers movie" that he had pitched to them. As such, he feels this is the movie that he wanted to make, and he sees no need to create a director's cut in the future.
  16. The Sorcerer wears women's clothing. In Iron Age Scandinavia, magic was seen as a female activity, and terms for male magicians were also used as slurs against homosexuals. According to legend, Odin, the principal Norse god, disguised himself as a woman so he could learn magic from the goddesses.
  17. The film takes place in an area that includes modern Scotland, Ukraine and Iceland.
  18. Historical consultants were archaeologist Neil Price (author of "The Viking Way: Religion and War in Late Iron Age Scandinavia" and "Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings") and literary scholar Johanna Katrin Fridriksdottir (author of "Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World").
  19. All of the Mound Dweller's equipment, including Draugr, is based on mostly Swedish Vendel-era finds. That makes everything he uses centuries older than the gear of every other character.
  20. Most of the runes in the film are the viking age runes of the younger futhark. The exception is on the sword of the Mound Dweller which are written in elder futhark runes, which were pre-viking age.
  21. Filming was supposed to start in March 2020 but was delayed by several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The actors were already present on set and rehearsing before the production shut down. This setback, however, had some advantages: the delay allowed the already constructed sets to weather realistically, and the Viking beards of several actors could grow out even longer in the meanwhile.
  22. Unusual for a movie of the 2020s, director Robert Eggers and director of photography Jarin Blaschke completely eschewed multiple camera set-ups, handheld cameras and second units during the action scenes. Where most movies film an average of 20-25 shots in a day, including closeups and wide shots for coverage, Eggers and Blaschke usually did three to four heavily planned single shots per day, often with repeated takes; for example, the raid on the Slavic town, which was filmed as a four-minute continuous shot, took 25 takes to get right. This method of shooting was one of the factors that made the editing process challenging, since Eggers and editor Louise Ford didn't have a lot of additional coverage or alternative takes for when the studio wanted some scenes changed.
  23. The recent discovery in Ukraine of walrus tusks from Greenland dating to the Viking period illustrates the mature version of the 4000+ kilometer trade corridor from the Black Sea to the North Atlantic that Amleth traveled from the land of the Rus to Iceland.
  24. Eggers wanted some of the berserkers to be completely naked, but did not pursue this because he feared it would be too audience alienating and give the film too high an age restriction.
  25. When asked why all of his movies are set in the past, director Robert Eggers enigmatically quoted 17th century poet John Dryden. "For mankind is ever the same and nothing is lost out of nature, though everything is altered." He then added "As much as I am, like, totally in love with the verisimilitude of the tangible world, it's getting into the mind. To present it without judgment. Just because, it is what it is. And it's fucking fascinating. . . . The most interesting thing is, like, how it's still us."
  26. Many of the lines spoken in The Northman contain alliteration, resembling the alliterative verse found in Old Norse and other Germanic languages.
  27. Robert Eggers described the film as Andrei Rublev (1966) meets Conan the Barbarian (1982).
  28. The Northman got much of its inspiration from "Amleth", a Scandinavian legend which later directly inspired Shakespeare's tragedy of the Danish Prince "Hamlet".
  29. One of the first shots in the theatrical trailer shows a pair of ravens flying towards the island where the story is supposed to take place. The ravens, more than likely, are a reference to the two ravens Hugin and Munin who were used by Odin as familiars in many Viking/Nordic legends.
  30. Some sources differ about who came up with the idea for the film, with some crediting director Robert Eggers, whereas Movie Insider claims that actor Alexander Skarsgård conceived it. Eggers and Skarsgård later clarified in separate interviews with Den of Geek and NY Times that it was a lot of both, but mostly Skarsgård: he had always wanted to do a Viking film, and had been working on a story outline with producer Lars Knudsen for years, without much progress. Eggers had visited Iceland a few years before, and although he had little interest in Viking history, he had fallen in love with the Icelandic landscape. He met with singer Björk (who would later play the Seeress), who introduced him to writer Sjón and his books about Icelandic witchcraft, which greatly fascinated Eggers. During a meet-up between Skarsgård and Eggers for a different project, Skarsgård constantly brought up his Viking movie, and pitched his vision to Eggers, who became very receptive to the idea due to Skarsgård's enthusiasm; he suggested to bring in Sjón, and only later did they pitch an adaptation of the Scandinavian legend 'Amleth' to Skarsgård, who agreed.
  31. Thórir's funeral is based on Ibn Fadlan's tenth-century account of a Rus funeral. In particular, the words of Kormlöth are nearly verbatim the words of the servant girl who is killed to accompany her master in Ibn Fadlan's account. A fictional version of Ibn Fadlan's experiences among the Rus appears in The 13th Warrior (1999).
  32. Alexander Skarsgård's brother, Bill Skarsgård, was originally cast as Thorir but dropped out due to a scheduling conflict after the delay of filming due to COVID-19.
  33. One sequence was filmed in a location so remote that the cast had to be flown in by helicopter.
  34. Björk's first feature film role since Drawing Restraint 9 (2005).
  35. As Amleth talks to the Seeress, a statue of a deity can be seen in the background. It is a statue of "Swiatowid from Zbruch", the original of which is in the Archaeological Museum in Krakow.
  36. Alexander Skarsgård worked out for six days a week for six months to attain his physique for the film.
  37. Whilst set in Iceland, Scotland and Ukraine, most of the film was shot in Ireland.
  38. Robert Eggers' previous two films were made on budgets of $9m and $4m dollars respectively. This film had an estimated budget of $70m-$90m.
  39. The berserkers, excluding the Berserker Priest, number 12. In the Icelandic Sagas bands of berserkers often number 12.
  40. This is the second collaboration between Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård after Big Little Lies (2017), where they played husband and wife. In this film, however, they play mother and son.
  41. Nicole Kidman plays Alexander Skarsgård's Mother despite only being 9 years older than him.
  42. The scene where Amleth hides behind the warp-weighted loom in Gudrún's room is reminiscent of the scene in Hamlet where Polonius hide behind a tapestry in Gertrude's room.
  43. The film is titled Northman, which is also the last name of the vampire in which Alexander Skarsgård is known for playing in HBO's True Blood (2008) . The role in question is Eric Northman, a 10th century Viking who was turned into a vampire.
  44. Shot in 87 days.
  45. This is the second time that director Robert Eggers has worked with Willem Dafoe (who was in The Lighthouse (2019)), and also Eggers' second time working with Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Dickie and Ralph Ineson, who were all in his feature debut The Witch (2015).
  46. Upon its April 2022 release, this is Robert Eggers' longest film.
  47. Anya Taylor-Joy's second Viking film after Viking Quest (2015).
  48. Ian Whyte and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson both played Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane on Game of Thrones (2011). Kate Dickie, Seamus O'Hara, Kevin Horsham, and Ralph Ineson were also on the show.
  49. Ian Gerard Whyte previously played a Viking king in Vikings (2013). Tadhg Murphy also appeared in the show as Arne One-Eye, Eric Higgins as Knut, and Mark Fitzgerald as one of Ragnar's warriors.
  50. First theatrical film by Robert Eggers that isn't composed by Mark Korven. Instead, it will be composed by Robin Corluan and Sebastian Gainsbourgh.
  51. Initially due to start production in March 2020 but, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic shut everything down. Filming commenced in August of that year but the delays - and the new covid protocols - meant that the budget ballooned from $65 million to $90 million.
  52. This is the second collaboration between Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe since Daybreakers (2009).
  53. On Game of Thrones, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson climbs atop his foe and crushes his skull. In The Northman, Alexander Skarsgård climbs atop Björnsson and crushes his skull.
  54. Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Dickie and Ralph Ineson reunite with director Robert Eggers in their second collaboration after The Witch (2015).
  55. Alexander Skarsgård's brother Gustaf Skarsgård also played a Viking in the hit TV series "Vikings".
  56. The Raven-King's return to his homeland is preceded by the flight of two ravens (opening scene).
  57. This is the second collaboration between Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe since Aquaman (2018).
  58. Simon Phillips was considered for a role.
  59. After Amleth kills the draugr, he places the severed head between its buttocks. This was believed by medieval Icelanders to be one of the few ways to completely kill a draugr and keep him from rising. Another way was to burn the corpse.
  60. Fjölnir is stated to have been overthrown by Harald of Norway. That would be Harald Fairhair who, in the Icelandic sagas, is credited as having driven many Scandinavians into exile to Iceland due to his tyrannical rule. Most of Norway had converted to Christianity when these sagas were written, and the exiles often took their pagan belief systems with them.
  61. The body parts Amleth nails to the wall are set in the shape of Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged steed.
  62. When Amleth discovers his mother was the reason his father was killed, Amleth claims to have heard her screaming, Queen Gudrún says she was "laughing" and when paying close attention you can hear her laugh as she is on the shoulder of the man when a young Amleth is hidden in a red cloak.

Where was The Northman filmed?

This are the locations:

  • Iceland
  • Hekla, Rangárvallasýsla, Iceland
  • Five Fingers Strand, Malin Head, County Donegal, Ireland
  • Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Clandeboye Estate, Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland
  • Vestrahorn, Vatnajökull, Iceland
  • Ireland
  • County Donegal, Ireland
  • Belfast Harbour Studios, Dargan Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Torr Head, County Antrim, Ireland
  • Atticall, County Down, Ireland, UK
  • Inishowen Peninsula, Ireland
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Svínafellsjökull, Vatnajökull, Austurland, Iceland
  • Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Gleniff Horseshoe, Cliffoney, County Sligo, Ireland
  • Torr Road, Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Antrim Hills, Antrim, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Northern Ireland, UK
  • Malin Head, County Donegal, Ireland
  • Cliffoney, County Sligo, Ireland
  • County Down, Ireland
  • UK

Cast

Alexander Skarsgård profile
Alexander Skarsgård
as Amleth
Nicole Kidman profile
Nicole Kidman
as Queen Gudrún
Claes Bang profile
Claes Bang
as Fjölnir the Brotherless
Ethan Hawke profile
Ethan Hawke
as King Aurvandil War-Raven
Anya Taylor-Joy profile
Anya Taylor-Joy
as Olga of the Birch Forest
Gustav Lindh profile
Gustav Lindh
as Thórir the Proud
Elliott Rose profile
Elliott Rose
as Gunnar
Willem Dafoe profile
Willem Dafoe
as Heimir the Fool
Phill Martin profile
Phill Martin
as Hallgrímr Half-Troll
Eldar Skar profile
Eldar Skar
as Finnr the Nose-Stub
Olwen Fouéré profile
Olwen Fouéré
as Áshildur Hofgythja
Edgar Abram profile
Edgar Abram
as Hersveinn Battle Hard
Ingvar Sigurdsson profile
Ingvar Sigurdsson
as He-Witch
Jack Walsh profile
Jack Walsh
as Hallur Freymundur
Björk profile
Björk
as Seeress
Ian Whyte profile
Ian Whyte
as The Mound Dweller

More information