April 21, 2020

Robert Eggers' Next Movie is So Bonkers It Changed His Whole Prep Process

Robert Eggers always tackles movies with complex emotions and riveting stories, but how has his latest endeavor changed his process? 

One of the best things to happen in a director's career is just getting to make multiple movies. You develop a groove that enables you to focus on the important things as the smaller stuff becomes a breeze to handle. 

But what happens when one of your projects comes along and shakes everything up? 

That's what Robert Eggers is dealing with on his new project, The Northman

See, right when characters were getting fit for prosthetics and sets were being built...the coronavirus happened. 

“There’s a very small crew that is continuing to work on things,” Eggers said. “Armor makers are working on armor for the characters. Prosthetics are being made. I’m doing my work with the DP [Jarin Blaschke] and the storyboard artist. There are things that need to be happening. Our location manager is constantly checking in on the locations, some of which are just now semi-built sets.”

So, what does a Hollywood production do? 

And how can a director adapt? 

Most of it is about staying busy and going over the aspects of the project that can be controlled. During an interview on Film Independent Coffee Talk, Eggers explained what his life is like now. 

“There’s many locations in the film, so we were constantly going on scouts to find places or reassess places that we have found and we’re building sets there. We’re designing all these worlds, building these villages, we’re making thousands of costumes and props, training the horses the things they’ll need to do, designing the shots of the films. There’s a lot more storyboarding. Generally, I only storyboard the scenes that have visual effects or animals and stunts, things where all the departments need to be on the same page for it to work out. But this movie there is rarely a scene that isn’t on a boat or doesn’t have a lot of extras. We’re storyboarding most of the film, which is taking a lot of time and we’re continuing to do that now on this hiatus.”

I like that he's not letting the dream die or truly be ruined by the pandemic. 

While we have no idea how or when Hollywood will come back, we want it to come back strong. The projects that will continue will be the ones with a plan and the ones prepped. 

The Northman stars Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Bill Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, and Anya Taylor-Joy. 

That's a cast you want ready to step in as soon as it's safe because that's a movie we all deserve to see. 

If you're a director in crisis now, focus on what you can control. Make a plan and backup plan and sort out what you can. 

We're going to need all kinds of entertainment when we come back.      

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