Robert Eggers Says Bill Skarsgård Went Beyond ‘Some Pretty Heavy Occult Sh*t’ for ‘Nosferatu’

Bill Skarsgård truly channeled the undead for Robert Eggers’ upcoming vampire feature “Nosferatu.”

In an interview with Esquire, Skarsgård says that he “conjured” an alter-ego to play villain Count Orlok who is (literally) dead set on seducing the soul of Ellen Hutter (Lily-Rose Depp).

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“It took its toll,” Skarsgård said of the role. “It was like conjuring pure evil. It took a while for me to shake off the demon that had been conjured inside of me.”

Writer/director Eggers recalled to Esquire that Skarsgård was “on a different level” when it came to leaning into the occult aspects of the story.

“I remember early on, him trying to talk to me about what it meant to be a dead sorcerer — and I’m into some pretty heavy occult shit, but he was on a different level,” Eggers said. “I was like, ‘This sounds accurate, but I don’t know how to converse about this with any fluidity.'”

While Skarsgård is no stranger to tapping into the dark side with roles in “It” and “The Crow,” he truly shed all sense of himself for “Nosferatu.”

I do not think people are going to recognize me in it,” the actor said, adding that Count Orlok is “gross” despite the character being “very sexualized” by the plot.

“It’s playing with a sexual fetish about the power of the monster and what that appeal has to you,” Skarsgård continued. “Hopefully you’ll get a little bit attracted by it and disgusted by your attraction at the same time.”

It took a little while for Eggers to become attracted to the idea of casting Skarsgård as Count Orlok, who was written for a 40-something-year-old actor. Skarsgård is in his mid-20s.

“Somewhere in that second makeup test, I was like, ‘He’s become the character.’ It was eerie to see in the footage,” Eggers said. “Anything he did, anywhere he turned or looked, you were like, ‘He’s got it.’ ”

“Nosferatu” will premiere in theaters on December 25. Nicholas Hoult, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Emma Corrin, Ralph Ineson, Simon McBurney, and Eggers’ “The Northman” star Willem Dafoe round out the cast, with the official description reading: “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.”

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