“It’s in my blood. I grew up in Sweden. I grew up literally surrounded by rune stones. So it’s been a dream since I was a boy. And it’s about 10 years ago when I started thinking about trying to put together a Viking film. I’d never seen a great truthful depiction of the Viking age, of Viking, of Norse mythology, of how they lived, how they related to the gods, to the spiritual world. And I was excited about the possibility of maybe trying to make a big epic movie, but that stayed true to the old sagas.”
Northman director Robert Eggers went to extraordinary lengths to ensure this film was as historically accurate as possible. He brought on experts such as archeologist Neil Price to the film. Skarsgård praised Price’s involvement as instrumental in helping him understand his character Prince Amleth.
“Much thanks to Neil Price and his lectures and his books. Children of Ash and Elm was my Viking Bible during pre-production and the shoot. It’s an incredible read and it deals with the everyday life of the Vikings, but also their belief system, their connection to the gods, to the spiritual world and it’s a big aspect that I had to understand because in the movie. That is such a big component of the film, the spiritual, the supernatural, and the relationship between Amleth and the supernatural, the fact that to him, it wasn’t supernatural. In order to make that feel real, I had to understand how someone like Amleth a thousand years ago would perceive nature around him, the spirits in nature, the spirits within himself, the gods, their relationship to each other, and all that, how that was connected. His relationship to fate, his belief in faith was crucial to kind of wrap my head around.”
Skarsgård was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to parents Stellan and My Skarsgård. Father Stellan is also an actor known for playing Dr. Erik Selvig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Skarsgård’s siblings Gustaf, Bill, and Valter are also actors making it a family business of sorts.
To see Skarsgård in his dream role ten years in the making, head to the movie theaters to see The Northman, which is now playing.