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Alexander Skarsgard says ‘The Northman’ was “physically and mentally the most difficult job I’ve ever had.”
The 45-year-old actor plays Amleth in Robert Eggers’ Viking revenge saga and was literally “hackled and dragged through the mud” during filming.
He said: “The days were really long and hard, and we were out in the mud and up on these mountaintops in the wind and the cold.
“The week prior, I was working on the television show ‘Succession,’ on which I play a tech billionaire in a villa on Lake Como. So I literally went from playing one of the richest dudes on the planet in a crazy, beautiful villa, surrounded by yachts and helicopters and luxury, and got on a plane and flew to Iceland to get shackled and dragged through the mud. It was definitely a waking-up moment and a humbling experience.”
It was so bad that his co-star Anya Taylor-Joy (Olga of the Birch Forest), 25, had “frozen” mud on her knees at one stage.
She said in the interview with Total Film: “I’m not a complainer, and Rob [Eggers] and [director of photography] Jarin [Blaschke] know that, but there was one day when the mud was up to my knees, and it had frozen overnight, and I’m barefoot. It had got to a point where I think I just squeaked out, ‘Please!’ And they were like, ‘Oh, OK, it’s bad. It’s really bad. We need to get this done. If Anya’s saying, ‘Can we please roll? I can’t stand here any longer…'”
The ‘Tarzan’ star admitted that while he was so “exhausted” he came close to tears, it was all worth it.
The Swedish actor added: “You’re so exhausted that you want to cry.
“You feel like you finally got all the choreography of the fight worked out, but then you have to go again and again and again. There’s always something in the background that wasn’t quite right. The flip side of that is when you finally get it, it feels like winning gold at the Olympics.”
According to Eggers, Alexander “transformed his body more wildly” for his flick than he did to play Tarzan in 2016’s ‘The Legend of Tarzan’.
‘The Northman’ is also set to star the likes of Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe.