In Anatomy of a Scene, we ask directors to reveal the secrets needed to create the key scenes in their films. Watch new episodes in the series on Fridays. You can also check out our collection of over 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel†
A calm, moonlit scene turns into a spectacularly fierce battle with an undead hill dweller in this scene from ‘The Northman’.
Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard), the Norse with the title, tries to avenge his father’s death. But he needs a special sword to retrieve from a burial mound. He only needs to pry the weapon from the hands of the hill dweller who is buried there. Oh, and fight that undead figure when he wakes up.
Discussing the scene, director Robert Eggers said the barely visible moonlit shots in the film are “almost black and white, to the point where I wonder if my DP and I made a mistake,” he said, referring to the director of photography, Jarin Blaschke, a longtime employee of Eggers. The stark glimpses of these moments are based on Blaschke’s time spent in remote parts of Africa, far from any light pollution. The images are enhanced by an ashen color that the costume designer and production designer put on the clothing and set to enhance the images.
Much of the fight with Skarsgard (6-foot-4) and Ian Whyte (7-foot-1) was shot in a vertically spacious room in long, uninterrupted takes. It became a way of helping the public “get more involved in the fight,” he said. “And it’s also easier to follow each stroke of the battle as a story.”
Read the review of “Northman”.
Sign up for the Movies Update newsletter and get an overview of reviews, news, Critics’ Picks and more.