Anya Taylor-Joy Smiled Through ‘Northman’ Despite Freezing in Mud Up to Her Knees: ‘I Loved Being Pushed in That Way’

Shooting Robert Eggers‘ viking epic “The Northman” in Northern Ireland may not have been the most pleasant experience for the cast and crew due to the brutal weather and dangerous landscape, but the stars of the film wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I do not complain ever really,” Anya Taylor-Joy told Variety at the Los Angeles premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on Monday night. “There was one day when the mud came up to about my knees and it had frozen,” Taylor-Joy said. “I essentially squeaked out a ‘Please can we roll?’ and Robert was like, ‘Oh, Anya is asking if we can roll, we should roll.’ But we did it, it’s in the movie and it looks great.”

Taylor-Joy looks back at the shoot fondly despite the hardships.

She added, “I don’t usually watch the behind-the-scenes of things that I have done, but on this movie a friend of mine sent them to me and I just have the biggest smile on my face every single time you see me. I just loved it. I loved being pushed in that way.”

Taylor-Joy’s co-stars also shared their own experiences on set, echoing the hardships yet emphasizing a shared appreciation for the process.

“It was crazy because it was all tough, but it was an unbelievable experience,” Nicole Kidman said. “I think all the actors will say that we are never going to have that again. What Rob does is really create the world. You’re not imagining the world, you have the world. You are in it.”

Alexander Skarsgård says that the cast had quite a few physically and mentally intense days on set. “There’s one scene in which there’s a shamanic transformation, a ritualistic scene in which our characters, the berserkers, basically transform and leave their humanity behind them to become their spirit animals,” he said. “My character’s name is Bjorn Ulfur, which means Bear Wolf, so he basically transforms into a hybrid of a bear and a wolf. That was not easy.”

Eggers defended his way of working. “I’m not a sadist, it’s just that this is what the story demands,” he said.

This is the second time Skarsgård worked together with Kidman after first playing her abusive husband on HBO’s “Big Little Lies.” The two told Variety they’d like to reunite again, but for a less intense project.

“It has to be a light comedy, ideally on a tropical island or on the beach just drinking piña coladas or something like that,” Skarsgård said. “Go write that script and we’ll do it.”

Kidman added, “He wants to do a rom-com. I said, ‘Let’s play brother and sister!’ We haven’t done that.”

“The Northman” hits theaters on Friday.