‘Nosferatu’: Robert Eggers’ Vampire Epic Scares Up Hype at CinemaCon

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Bill Skarsgård has become undead bloodsucker Count Orlok for the big screen.

Skarsgård leads Robert Eggers’ long-awaited “Nosferatu,” a reimagining of F. W. Murnau’s 1922 film. Skarsgård plays the titular villain, with Lily-Rose Depp as Ellen Hutter, the source of Orlok’s obsession. As Orlok tries to seduce her soul, Ellen’s husband Thomas Hutter (Nicholas Hoult) fights to save his wife from turning to the dark side.

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Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski said the film “definitely ain’t your father’s ‘Nosferatu,’ and [Eggers] will definitely bring new meaning to the phrase ‘Christmas feast.’”

The footage Focus premiered at CinemaCon (though not released online today) was as daring and intense as any film Eggers has made, complete with some chilling black and white sequences, a man biting the head off a pigeon, streets teeming with rats, and rooms engulfed in flames, not to mention a truly deafening, bone chilling score.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Emma Corrin, Ralph Ineson, Simon McBurney, and Eggers’ “The Northman” star Willem Dafoe round out the cast.

The official description for “Nosferatu” reads: “Robert Eggers’ ‘Nosferatu’ is a Gothic tale of obsession between a haunted young woman and the terrifying vampire infatuated with her, causing untold horror in its wake.

“Nosferatu” is written and directed by Eggers, who has cited the adaptation as being one of his lifelong goals. The film was plagued by casting change-ups, including longtime Eggers collaborator Anya Taylor-Joy having to exit the role of Ellen Hutter role due to scheduling conflicts. Harry Styles was also attached for the part of Thomas Hutter, now played by Hoult. Eggers previously told IndieWire that the film had “fallen apart twice” before going into production. The COVID-19 pandemic also pushed “Nosferatu” back until after Eggers’ “The Northman” was completed.

“I’m trying to go beyond what I’m capable of,” Eggers told Empire in 2023 of the feature. “As always, it was a difficult shoot. Last night we were doing a scene on a ship with a lot of rain and waves, and the rain deflector, which tries to blow rain out of the lens, was breaking down and fogging. I spent the past several days working only with Russian sailors on a boat.”

Eggers added, “I’m so happy to have made ‘The Northman’ first and to have learned what I learned. When I think 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.”

“Nosferatu” was shot on film and marks Eggers’ latest collaboration with Focus Features after his 2022 Viking epic “The Northman.” Eggers serves as a producer on the film alongside “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse” producer Chris Columbus, plus Eleanor Columbus, Jeff Robinov, and John Graham.

Eggers teased Depp’s performance in a recent interview with Empire magazine, saying that “The Idol” breakout star is “absolutely phenomenal” onscreen. As for Skarsgård’s turn as the titular vampire, Eggers said, “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. 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.”

Eggers added, “I do think that there hasn’t been an old-school Gothic movie that’s actually scary in a while. And I think that the majority of audiences will find this one to be the case.”

Skarsgård’s filmography has taken a turn for the dark side with the actor leading revenge action films “Boy Kills World” and “The Crow” remake, helmed by Rupert Sanders. “The Crow” reimagining has ruffled a few feathers given its original 1994 feature whose production led to lead actor, Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee, being killed on set when a prop gun fired.

Focus Features also teased footage from its other new titles from 2024, including the Amy Winehouse biopic “Back to Black,” Jeff Nichols’ “The Bikeriders,” and Edward Berger’s “Conclave.”

“Nosferatu” premieres in theaters on December 25 from Focus Features. See some other new images below:

4193_D039_00268_R 
Willem Dafoe stars as Professor Albin Eberhart von Franz in director Robert Eggers’ NOSFERATU, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC
4193_D039_00268_R Willem Dafoe stars as Professor Albin Eberhart von Franz in director Robert Eggers’ NOSFERATU, a Focus Features release. Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLCAidan Monaghan
4193_D003_00297_R 
Nicholas Hoult stars as Thomas Hutter in director Robert Eggers’ NOSFERATU, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC
4193_D003_00297_R Nicholas Hoult stars as Thomas Hutter in director Robert Eggers’ NOSFERATU, a Focus Features release. Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLCAidan Monaghan

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