By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter
Anya Taylor-Joy has said Alexander Skarsgard was the “perfect person” to do her first on-screen intimate scenes with while shooting their new film The Northman as she felt he would take care of her.
The Queen’s Gambit actress plays Olga of the Birch Forest in the new epic Viking saga who embarks on a romantic relationship with Skarsgard’s character Amleth, a young Viking prince who is on a quest to avenge his father’s murder.
The revenge thriller by director Robert Eggers, which also features Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and singer Bjork, is set for cinema release on April 15.
Speaking while on the white carpet at a special screening of The Northman at Leicester Square in London, Taylor-Joy, 25, told the PA news agency how she formed a close bond with Skarsgard, 45, during the film.
She said: “We’re so lucky because we have a really close brother-sister bond.
“And that is, as weird as it sounds in terms of a romantic relationship, that’s the kind of energy that you want because you know the other person has your back, they’re going to take care of you.
“And he was the perfect person to do my first kind of intimate scenes with.”
The Viking epic also sees the actress reunite with Eggers for the first time since her breakthrough role in his 2015 supernatural horror film The Witch.
Taylor-Joy explained that working with the director again was her motivation for joining the project.
“I’d been waiting to go back to him and he called me up and he said, ‘Hey, I have this crazy script and I wrote a role for you, will you come and do it?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely I’ll be there’,” she said.
— The Northman (@TheNorthmanFilm) December 20, 2021
Reflecting on his time with Taylor-Joy during the film, Skarsgard told PA that he thought she was a “remarkable human being” and an “incredibly talented actress” who he learned a lot from.
He said: “Anya had already worked with Rob so she had that experience and for me, even though I’d developed the project with Rob, I’d never been on a set with him before, Anya had, so that was tremendously helpful.
“His style of working is very unique, almost all the scenes are one long, continuous shot which was meticulously planned, which is a way of working I’m not used to so I was very grateful to have Anya lead me through that.”
Skarsgard added that his first day on set for the film was “emotional” as he had created the project alongside Eggers from its inception.
The Swedish actor said: “It’s been a dream of mine to make a big epic Viking adventure but something based on the old Icelandic sagas… to capture the essence of that, but also on a big scale and scope.
“And the fact that I met Rob five years ago, I’m eternally grateful for that meeting because that’s what started this journey.
“He had just been to Iceland and I told Rob that I had this idea, this dream of making a historically accurate Viking depiction and he got excited and wanted to do it together and that’s how this adventure started.
“And then five years later, to stand there in Ireland on a mountaintop in the mud, with, in my opinion, one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, and this amazing cast and it was just such an emotional moment.”
The action movie is set in 10th century Iceland and was due to be filmed in locations across the world.
However, as the UK entered lockdown days before they were due to start their main shoot, the team had to recreate the Scandinavian look and feel of the film in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well as rethinking locations and set building.
The Northman will be released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on April 15.