William Dafoe’s Nosferatu character debuts in sneak peek

Willem Dafoe may look like himself in EW’s exclusive first look at his horror movie character Nosferatubut writer-director Robert Eggers revealed that the scene, which involves a tomb surrounded by flames, found the actor working with many actors.


“This series, in addition to having real flames, had 2,000 real rats,” says the director, who has already worked with Dafoe on three projects: 2019. The lighthouse2022 The northerner, and this new movie is coming out next year. “Which was challenging, but also fun.”


Dafoe played a vampire hunter named Professor Albin Eberhart von Franz in Eggers’ Prague-shot classic 1922 horror film directed by F.W. Murnau, itself an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and was previously remade by Werner Herzog as 1979 Nosferatu the Vampire. While the character in Murnau’s film, on whom Eggers based Defoe’s Professor, is on the fringes of the action, the director says he made von Franz a “crazy vampire hunter” — a character he says he’s “always loved and related to .”


William Dafoe plays Professor Albin Eberhart von Franz in Nosferatu.

Aidan Monaghan/FOCUS FEATURES



Eggers describes her story from this period, which takes place in both Transylvania and Germany, as the story of “a haunted woman who is tormented by a terrifying vampire.” This vampire is called Count Orlok and is played by Bill Skarsgård, whose brother Alexander played Eggers’ lead viking in The northerner. Bill is best known for playing, under heavy make-up, the clown monster Pennywise in It movies. Eggers explains that the Swedish actor underwent an even more extreme transformation for his performance of Orlok.


“Besides his eyes, it’s hard to find Bill,” says the director. “I try not to give too much away, but Bill has completely transformed into something very unique.” Eggers admits that the actor worked with an opera coach to lower his voice an octave. “People will think it’s all digital manipulation, but he’s put in the effort,” the director continues. “I’m very excited to see what audiences will make of Bill Skarsgård’s Count Orlok.”


The film’s heroine, Ellen Hutter, is played by The idol star Lily-Rose Depp as Nicholas Hoult from the TV show The great and this year’s vampire comedy Renfield depicts her husband Thomas. “In many ways, he’s the damsel in distress in this story,” Eggers says of Holt’s role. “The main thing that makes this different from other versions of Nosferatu is that it focuses much more on Lily-Rose Ellen’s character.”


Lily-Rose Depp as Ellen Hutter in Nosferatu.

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Eggers selected Aaron Taylor-Johnson and The crown actress Emma Corinne will play another couple, Friedrich and Anna Harding. The director says that Friedrich was friends with Hutter in the original Nosferatu but it is much more detailed in this movie. “In Murnau’s version, he’s with his sister Ruth, but here he has his wife, and their relationship is much more complex and integral to the story,” explains Eggers.


The cast also includes Ralph Ineson, who appeared in both The witch and The northerner. Eggers describes his character, Dr Wilhelm Sievers, as “in many ways the Watson to Willem Dafoe’s Holmes”.


However, this star-studded ensemble almost looked completely different. Eggers has twice tried to get his in the past decade Nosferatu in production only to have things fall apart before filming began. The director originally thought of Bill Skarsgård for the role that Holt ended up playing. Other actors in the frame who have played roles over the years include Harry Styles and The witch star Anya Taylor-Joy, who ultimately couldn’t appear in the film due to scheduling reasons. Remarkably, Eggers never gave up hope or at least he didn’t for too long.


“The second time I fell apart, I thought, Clearly, this movie should not be made” he admits with a laugh. “I don’t necessarily think everything happens for a reason, but the way the movie turned out with this incredible cast is something that makes you wonder if everything does to happen for a reason.”


Nosferatu is slated to hit theaters on December 25, 2024.


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