Nosferatu: Everything We Know Far About Robert Eggers' Take On The Classic Vampire Tale

Being known as the man behind "The Witch" would already cement you as a notable voice in horror, but to immediately follow it up with "The Lighthouse" and "The Northman" shows a filmmaker who won't stop, and thankfully has no plans to. Whichever way you look at it, Robert Eggers just keeps on winning. All three of his films have been period pieces, both intimate and massive in scope, showing how capable he is at transitioning from one to the other.

When Eggers took the leap to work with a major studio outside of A24, "The Northman" was a critically-acclaimed success, but the box office appeal wasn't there to recuperate its $90 million budget. This was bad news for all sorts of reasons, but the most devastating was the unlikely chance of getting his passion project off the ground. It was right around 2019 that Eggers expressed interest in his own adaptation of "Nosferatu," following in the footsteps of F.W. Murnau and Werner Herzog.

According to a Hollywood Reporter interview with Focus Features Kiska Higgs, the combined pool of box office receipts and its PVOD release helped "The Northman" actually turn a profit for the studio. It wasn't too long after that Eggers' "Nosferatu" was confirmed to get the go-ahead.

What Nosferatu is about

It isn't often that a rip-off is as revered over 100 years later as its original source material, but somehow 1922's "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror" has stood the test of time. Murnau essentially took the text of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel "Dracula," and twisted it to make it his own unofficial adaptation. Although Florence Stoker, the author's widow, was none too happy about it and ordered every copy of the film to be destroyed. The German court ruled in her favor, but as history shows, some prints managed to survive. You can't truly kill one of the great screen vampires.

In "Nosferatu," a lanky figure named Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons a man named Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to facilitate a sale. The mysterious figure wants to move from his secluded Transylvania manor, but the catch is that he wants the home right next door to Hutter and his wife Ellen (Greta Schröeder). Hutter soon discovers that Orlok is actually a vampire. Taken aback by this recent development, the real estate agent does what he can to get back home while the Count causes a plague across Germany.

In addition to being an effective silent chiller, "Nosferatu" is also one of the seminal horror flicks of German Expressionism during the early 20th century. Shreck was so good in the role that you would have thought he was a vampire himself. Stepping into the shoes of Count Orlok is a huge responsibility for any actor. The question remained: who would follow in the shoes of Shreck and Klaus Kinski?

What we know about the cast of Nosferatu

Eggers' "Nosferatu" was initially going to cast Anya Taylor-Joy ("The Queen's Gambit") and Harry Styles ("Don't Worry Darling"), but scheduling issues led to both actors no longer being able to participate in the project. It would seem that "The Witch" filmmaker has found his replacements with Bill Skarsgård ("Barbarian") and Lily Rose-Depp ("Wolf"). 

Skarsgård is playing Orlok, while Rose-Depp is playing Ellen. I'm already imagining Skarsgård and his expressive eyes standing in the door frame in the same manner as Shreck in the original film, and it's already giving me the chills. Pairing Skarsgård and Taylor-Joy opposite one another would have been a match made in heaven, but alas, I trust Eggers all the way.

Eggers has mentioned wanting "The Lighthouse" star Willem Dafoe in the film, but there's no word on whether he's an actual participant or not. It would be ironic given that Dafoe has technically played Orlok before in the film "Shadow of the Vampire," in which he plays a fictional version of Shreck.

According to Deadline, the most recent rumored casting announcement is that of Nicholas Hoult in an unspecified role. If cast, I imagine he would be playing Hutter. There's another irony given that he's starring in Chris McKay's "Renfield" as the titular assistant to Nicolas Cage's Dracula.

It all comes back around.

When and where you will be able to see Nosferatu

It's going to be some time until the "Dracula" rip-off haunts a new generation. The film is still in the stages of pre-production after all, so if you're waiting for a trailer, it's probably going to be some time until that happens.In terms of who is backing the whole enterprise, it appears that Focus Features, the folks who released "The Northman," is reuniting for another venture with Eggers.

In addition to directing, Eggers will also be writing the script. Chris Columbus, Eleanor Columbus, John Graham, and Jeff Robinov are confirmed as the film's producers.

The visual language of Eggers' filmography, however small, shows the scope of a filmmaker who's only going to improve upon himself in the years to come. There's a reason why folks get excited when he has a new movie coming out. If he's able to capture the gothic chills of Murnau's film, while adding his own filmmaking idiosyncrasies to the mix, then we're in for a great time with the Count.