Bill Skarsgård has transformed into the “It” clown and a “John Wick” super-villain, but the actor reaches new depths as the vampire at the center of Robert Eggers‘long-gestating’Nosferatu,” according to the director.
Eggers told Empire magazine that Skarsgård is unrecognizable as the blood-sucking force, with his performance incorporating Max Schreck and Klaus Kinski’s respective interpretations of the fabled character in FW Murnau’s 1922 film and Werner Herzog’s 1979 reimagining.
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“I’ll say that Bill has so transformed, I’m fearful that he might not get the credit that he deserves because he’s just…he’s not there,” Eggers said. “He felt like honoring who had come before him. It’s all very subtle. But I think the main thing is that he’s even more a folk vampire.”
The “Witch” director continued, “In my opinion he looks like a dead Transylvanian nobleman, and in a way that we’ve never actually seen what an actual dead Transylvanian nobleman would look like and be dressed like.”
“Nosferatu” co-stars Lily-Rose Depp as Ellen Hutter, who is hauntingly seduced by Skarsgård’s Count Orlok. Nicholas Hoult is Thomas Hutter who fights to save his wife.
“It’s even more Ellen’s story than previous versions. And Lily-Rose is absolutely phenomenal,” Eggers said, adding that the film is “scary” and “a Gothic horror movie.”
“I do think that there hasn’t been an old-school Gothic movie that’s actually scary in a while,” the “Northam” director said. “And I think that the majority of audiences will find this one to be the case.”
Eggers has been working on “Nosferatu” since 2016, with Anya Taylor-Joy originally being cast in the Ellen Hutter role. Taylor-Joy exited the project with her longtime collaborator Eggers due to scheduling conflicts. Willem Dafoe also stars.
“I’m so happy to have made ‘The Northman’ first and to have learned what I learned,” Eggers said in July 2023. “When I thought about the production plan of ‘Nosferatu’ that we had the first time around, I ‘m sure I would have somehow pulled it out of my butt, but it’s hard not to imagine it being a failure…I’m trying to go beyond what I’m capable of.”
Focus Features’ “Nosferatu” will be released theatrically in 2024.
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