“The Witch” director Robert Eggers’ Lovecraftian-ode “The Lighthouse” hits cinemas today and is one of the year’s most acclaimed films. It’s also drawing notices for its gruelling production, a 34-day shoot on the southern coast of Nova Scotia which sounds almost as insane as the film itself.
From near punchouts to mud eating, there are stories galore with co-star Robert Pattinson getting so drunk on set to play his character he would vomit, blackout and pee his pants. Eggers meanwhile studied shark genitals in order to design and pull off a ‘historically accurate’ vagina for a sea creature in the film.
One of the most interesting stories involved Pattinson’s first day of filming. Eggers tells The Daily Beast: “On day one we shot Rob masturbating in the shed – it’s the very first thing we shot – and Rob really, really went for it and you know, it was inspiring.”
Pattinson spoke with The New York Times about how he pulled it (himself?) off and how that ended up informing just how far they could take certain scenes in the film:
“Well, my first shot was this ferocious masturbation scene. It’s always nice to do something massive for your opening shot, and I went really massive on the first take. It was a 180 from everything we’d done in rehearsal, and I could see Robert [Eggers] a little in shock afterward. But I was like, ‘Ok, cool, I didn’t get told to stop, so I’ll keep going in that direction.’ As soon as I’d done that, it was like the road started getting paved.”
Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star in the film as lighthouse keepers on a remote island in 1890s New England, trying to keep their sanity amid difficult and solitary conditions. “The Lighthouse” opens in limited release via A24 from tomorrow.