The name Robert Eggers has been bandied about the independent film community for a while now. His first major film, 2015’s The Witch, may have caught your eye. As the month of November progresses, more and more theatres will begin showing his most recent picture, The Lighthouse.
Taking place in the year 1900, this story follows two lighthouse keepers as they live and work on a remote island. Robert discusses his profession and his path to success in an interview with Filmmaker Magazine.
Is the Existence of Robert Eggers a Critically Endangered Species?
Indeed, Robert Eggers are rapidly becoming extinct. He’s one of the few remaining directors eager to break new ground in order to tell important stories. In an era when Hollywood is more concerned with pumping out formulaic blockbusters than taking risks on original filmmaking, Eggers has stayed true to his vision and produced ground-breaking movies.
Eggers has proven, with works like The Witch and The Lighthouse, that he is not afraid to experiment, which is admirable. Eggers is a welcome change of pace in an otherwise stale profession; more directors of his kind are needed.
During the Process of Making This, What did you Discover About Yourself?
The Witch and The Lighthouse are two of Robert Eggers’ most well-known works as a director. He was once asked during an interview what he had learned while making his picture The Northman. His most important takeaway was that directing is a really challenging profession.
A million things need your attention right now, he said, and everything can come apart if you’re not paying attention. He added that the ability to work with people who are both highly skilled and tremendously challenging is essential. He emphasised the importance of being able to work well with individuals who are different from you, saying that this is what cinema is all about in the end.
Which Aspects of the Norm do Your Sensibilities Deviate From?
Handheld cinematography is where my interests lie, and the folks I collaborate with tend to be highly process-focused. They appreciate film as art and are curious about the medium’s past and future. What’s happening now and how we may advance cinema is of great importance to me.
It’s not just the narrative that grabs my attention; the story itself is fascinating. Moreover, I believe that my sensibility is distinctive from the norm in that I place a lot higher value on character than the average person. Most viewers care about the story and the central idea, and they are certainly crucial, but if the characters aren’t well-developed, the film loses my attention. In addition, I have a predilection for grim themes.
I worry that people are getting numb to violence in our culture. The nature of evil, both individually and collectively, is another topic that intrigues me. These are only a few examples of how my tastes differ from the mainstream.
One Last Thing
“The profession of director is ridiculous. To paraphrase Eggers: “It’s a lot of work, and a lot of things have to come together, and they all have to be flawless, and if they’re not perfect, it’s your fault.” And it’s up to you to keep everything going forward; if you don’t, everything will collapse.
Although this is a great deal of strain, Eggers claims he enjoys it. He enjoys a position of authority and admits as much. As the proverb goes, “I appreciate being the one who has to make the decisions.” Furthermore, he is not adverse to exertion. You have to be available around the clock, seven days a week, he explains. This is the way things are, period.