Few filmmakers have established a distinct, original voice as quickly as Robert Eggers. Over the last several years, Eggers’ two horror films, The Witch and The Lighthouse, took genre fans and film festivals by storm with their meticulously researched historical authenticity and nightmarish imagery.
“I like finding things that are on the fringes and sort of half-forgotten, and to remind us of those things,” Eggers says when we sit down to discuss The Lighthouse. “For better or for worse, my brother and I both have some Jungian leanings, so we’re tempted to think that these bits and bobs of the past are knocking around in everyone’s heads somehow to some degree, and they just need to be jiggled into the front of their head in the mind again.”
This is perhaps why Eggers earned the interest of horror fans when it was announced in 2015 that he was writing and directing a new version of Nosferatu shortly after The Witch cast its spell at the Sundance Film Festival. The original Nosferatu of 1922 is the oldest surviving vampire film, and in many cinephiles’ minds still the best one. Directed by F.W. Murnau at the height of the German Expressionist movement, that unauthorized Dracula adaptation still lingers in the pop culture zeitgeist nearly a full century later. It also was rather miraculously remade into another classic by Werner Herzog in 1979. One with a more naturalist aesthetic.
Despite going so far in 2017 as casting The Witch star Anya Taylor-Joy in an unspecified role in Nosferatu, Eggers obviously did not make that as his next film. But with The Lighthouse finished and about to be released, we had to ask about the status of his Nosferatu remake… which sounds somewhat alive, although Eggers is ambiguous about whether it’s his next movie.
“Look, I spent so many years and so much time, just so much blood on it, yeah, it would be a real shame if it never happened,” Eggers says. He then adds, “But also, I don’t know, maybe Nosferatu doesn’t need to be made again, even though I’ve spent so much time on that.”
When we ask though if he still talks to Taylor-Joy about the film, he rather cryptically laughs, “I mean, I talked to Anya yesterday.” He does admit, however, to already be prepping his next movie, be it Nosferatu or otherwise.
“The thing is I don’t want to throw around titles because I was throwing around all my titles last time,” Eggers says. “And I mean, Saint Guillermo del Toro does it all the time and nobody cares, but I don’t—I’m in prep for another movie. I hope it happens, but until I’m on set, saying ‘action,’ I don’t really know if it’s going to be the next one, you know?”
That might be true for the filmmaker, but we certainly hope that project has some bite. Audiences can meanwhile sink their teeth into Eggers’ new journey into black and white madness when The Lighthouse opens on Friday, Oct. 18.