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SYFY WIRE Nosferatu

How Robert Eggers’ Viking Epic The Northman Changed His Upcoming Nosferatu Remake

Cinema's OG vampire is coming back to the big screen.

By Josh Weiss
A split screen image featuring Max Schreck as Count Orlock in Nosferatu (1922); director Robert Eggers; and Alexander Skarsgård in The Northman (2022)

It's no secret that Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse) has been trying to remake Nosferatu for years now.

He's been raring to go for quite a while, but doesn't think the vampiric project from Universal Pictures' Focus Features — which recently wrapped principal photography in Europe — would have been half as good if he made it before his bloody Viking epic: The Northman. In other words, Prince Amleth's trail of carnage was the key to awakening the filmmaker's fresh take on cinema's first bloodsucker.

RELATED: Vampires are cranky because they're starving: The science behind 'Nosferatu'

Why Robert Eggers is glad he made The Northman before Nosferatu

Alexander Skarsgård as Amleth in THE NORTHMAN

"I'm so happy to have made The Northman first and to have learned what I learned," he confessed to Empire for the magazine's August 2023 issue (now on sale). "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."

Focus Features describes the reimagining of the seminal (and silent) 1922 horror flick as "a gothic tale of obsession" set against the backdrop of 19th century Germany. Lily-Rose Depp (The Idol) stars as a young woman stalked by a Transylvanian vampire by the name of Count Orlok (Barbarian's Bill Skarsgård).

Nicholas Hoult (Renfield), Emma Corrin (Lady Chatterley’s Lover), Willem Dafoe (Inside), Simon McBurney (Carnival Row), Ralph Ineson (The Green Night), and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kraven the Hunter) co-star.

Dafoe's casting carries an interesting shade of metatextuality: the actor portrayed Max Schreck (the original Count Orlok) in 2000's Shadow of the Vampire, which depicted the making of the original Nosferatu. Dafoe's performance garnered an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor.

In addition to writing and directing, Eggers also serves as a producer alongside Jeff Robinov, John Graham, Chris Columbus, and Eleanor Columbus.

"I can't believe I just made Nosferatu," Eggers concluded during his chat with Empire. "Any film is a miracle to make, but it's shocking in the climate that we're living in in the film industry that I'm making these films."

Focus Features has yet to announce an official premiere date for Nosferatu. While we wait for the news to break, though, consider checking out The Northman — now available to purchase from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Craving more vampire action in the meantime? Stream Vampire Academy on Peacock. SYFY's Reginald the Vampire is set to return for a second season. And that's not all: Universal Pictures' Dracula-inspired Last Voyage of the Demeter is in theaters now.