Before Anya Taylor-Joy became a world star thanks to queen’s gambit, the actress already had a couple of films in her filmography that had become cult titles. One of them, The witch, marked the directorial debut of Robert Eggers. The film conquered the Sitges Festival in 2015. The director stood there together with a barely known young actress who, with her Argentine accent and her brutal interpretation, conquered everyone. It was the starting gun for both of them. From then on, Eggers built a career that skyrocketed thanks to The lighthouse and Anya Taylor-Joy has emerged to be one of the most promising actresses on the current scene.
War of nerves: ‘my week in LA’
Both have been reunited in the third film as director of Eggers, north mana Viking film that adapts a Scandinavian medieval legend that inspired the Hamlet of Shakespeare (the protagonist is called Amleth) and that it is his most ambitious project to date. Violent, brutal, dirty—in a good way—and not condescending at all. An adult bet for a mediocre public against the umpteenth proposal of superheroes. A challenge from which Eggers emerges victorious, showing that he can manage large budgets without giving up his personality.
That incorruptible character has been noticed by Anya Taylor-Joy in this reunion. The actress confirms that Eggers “has not changed.” “It’s interesting, because we’ve been close friends since The witch. Having the opportunity to be in front of the camera with him again was very exciting, because now we know each other better. What I hadn’t realized until now is that my character as an actress on a set comes from Robert. Now that I’ve been at your service again, I said, ‘I am who I am as an actress because of you, you were the first person I saw and I based everything on you,’ and that made me feel proud, because being precise as an actress, the working hard, being part of a team… all of that is because of him”, he assures.
Taylor-Joy has already worked in our country under the orders of Sergio G. Sánchez in his directorial debut, The Secret of MarrowboneAnd he longs to do it again. On the night of the Oscars she was seen with Pedro Almodóvar. The Spanish director himself immortalized the moment in a photograph that he included in his newspaper of the week in Los Angeles and published exclusively in Spain by elDiario.es. In that blog she confessed that during her visit she had met with actresses who interested her for her next project, her adaptation with Cate Blanchett of Manual for cleaning women, giving free rein to rumors about a possible distribution. The actress would love it: “I can’t wait to work with Pedro Almodóvar. To be honest, I can’t wait to make a film in Spanish. I would love to because he is such an incredible and sweet director in the short time I spent with him… I would love to, and I will use any excuse there is to shoot in Spain again”.
north man It is cinema against the current in an industry that is increasingly afraid of failing in movie theaters. The platforms press and release in theaters is a risk, so they repeat the formula that works. Superheros, remakes, sagas and nostalgia. For Anya Taylor-Joy, a type of cinema is missing that is not being made. “I think we’re missing out on the big event movies, and I mean something epic. I read this script and said ‘this is epic’. It’s complex, it’s beautiful, it’s dark… it has all the things that I think people want. People want new things, you don’t have to always rely on formulas. If we try to make art we shouldn’t make things because we think that’s what’s going to sell. I think people want the magic and mystery of these big movies that are made to be seen on the big screen. That’s the magic of cinema, and I do miss it.”
Despite being an ambitious project, Robert Eggers confesses that it has not been difficult to finance the film. “I’ve been pretty lucky in that regard and it’s been pretty easy. I had a script prepared when The lighthouse it was so successful at Cannes, and luckily for me there were a lot of Viking products that people were interested in, so it all came together. It is amazing that it has gone from doing something the size of The lighthouse to something this size. It’s not what usually happens”, says Eggers who also believes that there is a cinema that is missing: “Stellan Skarsgård has said it several times, the cinema cannot pay attention to only one type of film. We need more great movies made for smart adults.”
north man It has been a challenge for Eggers, who says that if he had to write a book with everything he has learned during this shoot, “I would never finish it”: “I have finally felt that I am a film director. After the first two films I still felt like I was convincing people that I’m a director, and now I feel like I have the tools to say I am.”
People want new things, you don’t have to always rely on formulas. If we try to make art we shouldn’t make things because we think that’s what’s going to sell.
One of the surprises of a cast where they are, in addition to Anya Taylor-Joy, Alexander Skarsgård, Ethan Hawke and Nicole Kidman, is the appearance of the singer Bjork, away from acting since 2008. Robert Eggers laughs when asked how the convinced, and makes it clear that “you can’t convince Bjork of anything”. In this case, it was the singer’s personal relationship with her co-writer Sjon Sigurdsson that caused her to say yes to making an iconic appearance.
This epic tale of revenge, full of blood, amputated limbs, sequence shot action scenes and a final battle in an erupting volcano, was intended exclusively to be enjoyed on a big screen, and in fact Robert Eggers does not think of his works as platform products. “I always make films that have to be experienced in theaters, I’m sure that if the situation arose where I could only do it through a platform, I would do it, but it’s not what I prefer.” At the moment he is still incorruptible, and at the moment he is still trying to raise a remake of the Nosferatu of Murnau that is not being as easy as The Northman.