The Northman, an upcoming Viking epic by filmmaker Robert Eggers, is based on a true story. With the first trailer being revealed, audiences are curious to see whether Eggers’ film is based on a real event and compares to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The first trailer for The Northman includes an all-star cast that includes Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Björk, and Willem Dafoe.
Let’s see whether The Northman is based on a real tale as the director of The Witch and The Lighthouse delivers a new Viking epic.
Is The Northman based on a true story?
The Northman is based on the same Norse legend that inspired Hamlet. The tale follows a vengeful prince, which is actually the same saga that Shakespeare used as inspiration for Hamlet.
The Northman is a fantasy drama that does not follow strict real-life events. It draws on a well-known Shakespearean tale and is rife with literary influences from ancient times. To tell an intriguing narrative, the film’s editors obviously studied Viking society extensively. The official synopsis describes the film as an “action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father’s murder.”
Eggers film draws Hamlet parallels
Robert’s father is a Shakespeare scholar, which implies he had prior experience with Hamlet and English literature. Hamlet was based on Norse sources that Eggers was unfamiliar with until he researched the novel. In order to make the ending of his film a revenge yarn, Eggers knew he wanted it to be one.
Who better to take inspiration from than Shakespeare’s greatest revenge tale, Hamlet?
The Northman is derived from the Norse legend written by Saxo Grammaticus in Latin around 1200 AD, which was combined with the Viking feel. Amleth was the title of Saxo’s tale and was first published in Paris in 1514.
Who would these characters be in Eggers’ The Northman if they were in Hamlet? So, Alexander Skarsgård plays Amleth aka Hamlet, Nicole Kidman is Queen Gudrun or Queen Gertrude, and Ethan Hawke is King Aurvandil. Anya Taylor-Joy plays Olga, who is the love interest and therefore Ophelia when compared to Hamlet. Given the COVID restrictions still loom, production was delayed a little. Because they were storyboarding while filming, the delay actually assisted with the film’s organization. However, despite the fact that production was able to complete storyboarding ahead of time, it was unable to do so for one sequence. Torr Head in Co. Antrim served as the film’s location in 2020, with additional shots filmed at Malin Head on Donegal and The Gleniff Horseshoe in Co. Sligo.