Where Was The Northman Filmed? – The atmospheric medieval action-drama ‘The Northman’ was directed by Robert Eggers, whose psychological thriller ‘The Lighthouse’ stole the hearts of festival-savvy audiences. The story follows young Viking prince Amleth on his quest to avenge his father, King Aurvandill War-Raven, and free his mother, Queen Gudrun, from the shackles of his uncle, Fjölnir, using magic, mythology, and history. Hollywood A-listers Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, and Willem Dafoe are among the cast members.
The film caused a stir after its presentation, thanks to its high production value, accurate historical mood, and steady directing. The epic journey takes viewers through Ireland’s moors and valleys, weaving an atmospheric tale of tragedy, greed, and bloodshed. However, you might be curious as to where the movie was shot. Let us satisfy your curiosity if the question is keeping you awake at night.
‘The Northman’ was shot in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Iceland. The film’s principal photography was supposed to start in March 2020, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced a postponement. Filming began on August 3, 2020, and was completed by December 11 of same year. Jarin Blaschke, who worked with the filmmaker on the films ‘The Witch’ and ‘The Lighthouse,’ returned as Director of Photography. Furthermore, to legitimise the portrayal, the production team enlisted the expertise of Neil Price of Uppsala University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
Craig Lathrop, who had previously worked with Eggers on other projects, handled the production design with aplomb. The breathtaking terrain of Ireland entices filmmakers and producers. Ireland has become a popular destination for mediaeval period plays because the country still preserves much of its cultural heritage. Furthermore, Ireland’s Department of Culture offers a 32-35 percent tax credit for film, television, and animation projects, which helps to alleviate the financial load. Now, let us take you to the particular sites where the film was shot!
The majority of the filming took place in and around Northern Ireland, a British-controlled enclave in the northeast of the island of Ireland. The crew established a base in Belfast, the port city that serves as the region’s capital and economic centre. The majority of the interior sequences were shot at Belfast Harbour Studios, a vast movie production facility located on Dargan Road on the outskirts of Belfast. Two fully equipped 32,964 square foot soundstages that can be used as a single stage are available at the property. The studio has been fairly active since its establishment, handling high-budget projects such as Netflix’s ‘The School for Good and Evil.’
The crew travelled to County Down, one of Northern Ireland’s six counties, for the purpose of filming. They shot various shots around Attical (or Atticall), a little village and townland in the majestic Mourne Mountains, including the Viking ball game scenario. The crew filmed scenes in the midst of Eagle Mountain, Pigeon Rock, and Windy Gap in the Mourne Mountains, where the scenery was unaffected by modern architecture. The film team also visited Bangor, a little picturesque town in the same county, during their epic voyage. The beach resort town is 14 miles east of Belfast city centre, despite being part of the Belfast Metropolitan Area.
While in town, the group stayed at Clandeboye Estate, one of Northern Ireland’s most opulent country estates. The estate assisted with a large chunk of the filming, from the Slavic village through the Viking dance sequence. The 2000-acre estate, located at Clandeboye Cottages on Belfast Road toward Bangor, is best known for the 1st Marquess’ legacy. The marquessate became extinct after the death of the 5th Marquess, and the piece of Irish history can now be rented as an event venue. This is the place to go if you want to have a big wedding. They also shot some scenes on Tyrell Beach, which is located in the same county. Finally, County Antrim was the site of much of the filming in Northern Ireland.
Lough Neagh occupies a significant portion of the county. The forest shots were most likely shot in Northern Ireland’s Antrim Hills, one of the few undeveloped natural areas. The crew travelled to Antrim, the county seat of Antrim, a picturesque town on Lough Neagh’s northern shore. Some scenes were shot along the banks of the Maine River at Shane’s Castle, a ruined 14th-century stronghold on the Lough’s shores. Knockdhu, a peaceful Bronze Age settlement in the county, was also used for filming. A Bronze-Age promontory fort and the historic Linford Barrows burial mounds can be found here.
The filming unit built an Icelandic farm out of peat bricks for several of the shots in “Iceland.” Some sequences were also shot at Torr Head, a major tourist destination and historic site. The headland, which is located on Northern Ireland’s northeastern coast, offers a tranquil view of the ocean, as well as Altagore Cashel, an old fort. The squad stopped in Ballymena after taking the stormy Torr Road, which is nothing short of a roller coaster trip. The land assigned to the Adair family became the foundation of the town. They also travelled east from Ballymena to Ballygally, a charming beach village near Larne. The cherry on top is a dip in the River Bann. The 129-kilometer-long watercourse is one of Northern Ireland’s longest rivers.
The director took his crew on a trip of Ireland because the story of ‘The Northman’ is rich in Irish history and folklore. The production team shot scenes on Ireland’s largest peninsula, the Inishowen Peninsula. The peninsula also contains Ireland’s highest point, Malin Head, which is depicted in all its dramatic beauty in the film. The cast and crew also took a stroll along the Five Fingers Strand, a beautiful beach with enormous dunes.
Additional sequences were shot in and around Gleniff Horseshoe and Cliffoney Village in Ireland’s County Sligo. Cliffoney Village has a long history of settlement dating back to megalithic periods. While going near the cliffs, you may come across the cave where the mythological lovers Diarmuid and Grainne once hid. Fans of such ancient sites can travel the Wild Atlantic Way and marvel at Ireland’s great natural splendour.
In addition, the crew travelled to Iceland to film the film’s chilly scenes. The Svnafellsjökull, an outlet glacier inside the larger Vatnajökull, is featured in a few sequences in the film. It is Europe’s largest existent ice cap, located in the Austurland region. The glacier, whose edges constitute a popular trekking trail, was also featured in a ‘Game of Thrones’ episode. Finally, numerous sequences were shot at Akureyri, Iceland’s fourth largest township. Settlement in the area may be dated back to the 9th century, when the film is set, but in recent centuries, the borough has grown into a vital port and fishing centre.