the lighthouse filming

The Lighthouse, the highly anticipated follow-up from The Witch‘s Robert Eggers, is described as a “fantasy horror story set in the world of old sea-faring myths.” But the real horror is what went down on set as Eggers’ star Robert Pattinson almost came to blows with the director over the harsh filming conditions.

The Witch debuted to rapturous reception in 2015, immediately launching Eggers into horror fame. So with his name attached to the mysterious A24 film The Lighthouse, alongside Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, there’s no question that this will be one of the most anticipated indies of 2019. But maybe the buzz got to Eggers’ head, or maybe the two Roberts are just too intense to be put in a room together, because The Lighthouse filming wasn’t a great experience for anyone.

In an interview with Interview magazine, Dafoe and Pattinson recalled the “harsh” conditions that were so bad that the two actors “hardly talked outside of scenes,” Dafoe said. Pattinson added the role was so physically demanding that he “hardly talked to anyone” at all. That all lead to a tense atmosphere that almost ended in a punch being thrown. “That’s the closest I’ve come to punching a director,” Pattinson said, adding:

“However much I love Robert [Eggers], there was a point where I did five takes walking across the beach, and after a while I was like, ‘What the fuck is going on? I feel like you’re just spraying a fire hose in my face.’ And he was like, ‘I am spraying a fire hose in your face.’ It was like some kind of torture. It definitely creates an interesting energy. [Laughs].”

But Pattinson had a good reason — kind of? He told Interview that he didn’t “really understand this script on a cerebral level,” and so decided to approach it from a “physical level.” Look, I love Pattinson and thought he was a revelation in 2017’s grimy thriller Good Time, but if you don’t understand the script you can just say so. This “cerebral” vs. “physical” stuff is a little pretentious, though maybe that’s why Eggers sprayed a fire hose in his face.

“You clearly weren’t into rehearsal,” Dafoe told Pattinson, putting it in a much nicer way than Eggers probably did. “Maybe it was the nature of the role, but I always felt like you wanted to leap in and not work stuff out, as though it was more real to confront it without any pre-knowledge. I was reminded of the old Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier quote, ‘Go.'”

The Lighthouse is set to hit theaters sometime in 2019.

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