Robert Eggers, whose psychological drama ‘The Lighthouse‘ won the hearts of festival-savvy masses, also helmed the atmospheric medieval action-drama ‘The Northman.’ Mingling magic, mythology, and history, the story probes into the journey of young Viking prince Amleth to avenge the murder of his father, King Aurvandill War-Raven, and rescue his mother, Queen Gudrún, from the shackles of his uncle, Fjölnir. The star-studded cast ensemble features Hollywood A-listers like Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, and Willem Dafoe.
Following its premiere, the movie stirred up a storm, thanks to its excellent production value, authentic historical ambiance, and steady direction. The epic quest takes the viewers through the moors and valleys of Ireland to weave an ambient tale of tragedy, greed, and bloodshed. However, you may be eager to know where the movie was filmed. If the question ruins your night’s sleep, let us quench your curiosity.
The Northman Filming Locations
‘The Northman’ was filmed in and around the UK, Ireland, and Iceland. Principal photography was initially scheduled to commence in March 2020, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the process. Filming finally began on August 3, 2020, coming under wrap by December 11 of the same year. Jarin Blaschke, who collaborated with the director on ‘The Witch’ and ‘The Lighthouse,’ reprised his role as the Director of Photography. Moreover, the production team took help from Neil Price of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Sweden’s Uppsala University to authenticate the portrayal.
Craig Lathrop, who worked with Eggers on his previous projects, handled the production design with a daunting grace. Ireland features a dramatic landscape to entice filmmakers and producers. Since the country still maintains much of its cultural heritage, Ireland has become a prime location for medieval period pieces. Moreover, Ireland’s Department of Culture administers a 32-35% tax credit for film, television, and animation project, alleviating the financial burden to a considerable extent. Let us now take you to the specific locations where the movie was filmed!
Northern Ireland, the UK
Most of the filming took place in and around Northern Ireland, a territory under the governance of the United Kingdom, located in the northeast of the island of Ireland. The crew set up a base in the port city of Belfast, the capital of the region and a central economic hub. Belfast Harbour Studios, a sprawling movie production facility located at Dargan Road on the outskirts of Belfast, lent their premises for most of the interior sequences. The facility contains two fully equipped 32,964 square feet soundstages, which can function as a single stage. Shortly after its inception, the studio has become quite busy, handling high-budget endeavors like the Netflix production ‘The School for Good and Evil.’
For the purpose of filming, the team went to County Down, one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. They filmed many scenes in Attical (or Atticall), a small village and townland in the dramatic Mourne Mountains. It lies on a popular trekking route. The epic journey also led the production team to Bangor, a small picturesque town in the same county. Although within the Belfast Metropolitan Area, the seaside resort town lies 14 miles east of the Belfast city center.
While in the town, the crew set up base in Clandeboye Estate, one of the lasting opulent country estates of Northern Ireland. Located at Clandeboye Cottages on Belfast Road towards Bangor, the 2000 acres estate is most famous for the legacy of the 1st Marquess. However, following the death of the 5th Marquess, the marquessate became extinct, and the slice of Irish history can now be lent as an event venue. If you seek to have a grand wedding, this is the place for you. Lastly, a major portion of filming in Northern Ireland took place in the County Antrim.
Lough Neagh forms a considerable part of the county. The forest scenes were presumably filmed in the Antrim Hills, one of the last untapped natural reserves in Northern Ireland. The crew went to the eponymous county seat of Antrim, a scenic town on the northern side of Lough Neagh. Some scenes were further filmed at the Torr Head, a historic landmark and popular tourist destination. Situated on the northeastern shore of Northern Ireland, the headland offers a serene view of the ocean, with Altagore Cashel, an ancient fort.
The team took the tumultuous Torr Road, which is nothing less than a roller coaster ride, and made a stop at the town of Ballymena. The town took shape from the land designated to the Adair family. They also ventured further east from Ballymena towards Ballygally, a picturesque coastal village near Larne.
Republic of Ireland
The story of ‘The Northman’ is steeped in Irish history and mythology; thus, the director took his team on tour all around Ireland. The production unit filmed scenes in the Inishowen peninsula, the largest peninsula in Ireland. The peninsula also includes the highest point of Ireland, Malin Head, which the movie captures in all its dramatic glory. While at it, the cast and crew strolled the Five Fingers Strand, a spectacular beach complete with massive dunes.
Additional scenes were filmed around Gleniff Horseshoe and the nearby Cliffoney Village in County Sligo of Ireland. The history of settlement in the Cliffoney Village dates back to the megalithic times. While walking near the cliffs, you may discover the cave that was once the hiding place of the mythical lovers Diarmuid and Grainne. Fans of such historical spots may take the Wild Atlantic Way and enjoy an aching view of the vast natural beauty of Ireland.
Moreover, the crew also flew to Iceland to capture the icy scenes of the film. Some scenes in the movie showcase the Svínafellsjökull, an outlet glacier within the more extensive glacier Vatnajökull. Located in the Austurland region, it is the largest extant ice cap in Europe. A ‘Game of Thrones‘ episode also visited the glacier, whose fringes form a popular hiking route. Lastly, many scenes were also filmed in Akureyri, the fourth largest township of Iceland. Settlement in the area can be traced back to the 9th century when the movie is set, but the township has become a crucial port and fishing center in recent centuries.
Read More: Is The Northman Based on A True Story?
Is Servant of the People Based on the True Story of President Zelenskyy?
Created by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, ‘Servant of the People’ is a Ukrainian political comedy series about a high-school teacher named Vasily Petrovych Goloborodko (Volodymyr Zelenskyy). During one of his history classes, Vasily delivers a profane rant against the corruption within the country. A student films his tirade and posts it on the internet, making him an internet sensation. Seeing the success of his views, Vasily’s students enroll him as a possible candidate for the Ukrainian presidency. Things take a wild turn when the teacher is actually elected to lead his country and has to figure out how to manage his duties and eradicate the corruption within the administration.
The series presents strong opinions regarding the corruption within Ukraine and the public’s frustration with the same. It also emphasizes how a man’s determination can overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. The series gained popularity in the country due to its bold topics and hilarious punches. Many could not help but relate the show’s storyline to the real-life happenings within Ukraine. Is the story of ‘Servant of the People’ a reflection of Zelenskyy’s own life? Let’s find out together.
Is Servant of the People the Story President Zelenskyy?
‘Servant of the People’ is partially true to President Zelenskyy’s life story. To understand the connection between the comedy show and the life of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, one has to look no further than the similarities between the two. Though the show was created as a satire on Ukraine’s political landscape, the show’s and the lead actor’s popularity turned it into a reality.
Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy was born on January 25, 1978, into a Jewish family in Kryvyi Rih. Since the age of 17, Zelenskyy has been active in the comedy industry and can be seen in multiple movies and shows. His strife with Ukraine’s political arena started in August of 2014 when the then-comedian spoke against the ban of Russian artists from Ukraine, which went into effect in 2015.
Following Zelenskyy’s protests, his projects like ‘Love in the Big City 2’ were also banned within Ukraine. Zelenskyy was also prohibited from Russian media after it was claimed that Zelenskyy’s production company, Kvartal 95, had donated 1 million hryvnias to the Ukrainian army during the war in Donbas. Despite the double-edged ban, the comedian stayed firm on his stand of removing the ban on Russian artists within his country.
Zelenskyy then starred in the self-created political satire, ‘Servant of the People,’ which gained a huge fanbase since its inception in 2015. The show became a huge hit and the pivotal point that started the parallels between Zelenskyy’s life to that of Vasily Petrovych Goloborodko, the character he played in the series. Like Vasily, Zelenskyy’s entrance into the political arena was started by those around him. The show served as Zelenskyy’s equivalent of Vasily’s tirade, and Kvartal 95 took up the role of his main cheerleader. In March 2018, the production team registered a new political party named after the show. According to Zelenskyy, the registration was made to not let the significant name be used by anyone else.
However, the simple action was enough for the public to latch on. While Zelenskyy denied any intention of joining politics at the time, his fans accepted him as a potential presidential candidate. The reach became so widespread that the comedian was one of the prominent names in opinion polls in October of 2018 despite not having announced any intention to join the presidential race. Finally, on December 31, 2018, Zelenskyy announced his candidacy on the network 1+1, and it quickly became a huge deal. The news even overshadowed the incumbent president Petro Poroshenko’s address on the very same day, on the same network.
The announcement of Zelenskyy’s presidential campaign came less than four months before the elections, and it escalated his popularity among the masses. Unlike other candidates, Zelenskyy’s campaign did not involve the mainstream media. He reached out to the voters through social media and YouTube videos. Instead of rallies, the comedian conducted stand-up routines as a way to foster a relationship with the general public.
A few days before the Ukrainian presidential elections in April 2019, several major news outlets claimed that Zelenskyy was deliberately avoiding the journalists. The man in question denied the claims and stated that he did not wish to go on talk shows where “people of the old power” were “just doing PR.” He also claimed that he did not have time to satisfy all interview requests.
Given his public views toward the country’s political system and a stellar team behind his back, Zelenskyy won the elections and was inaugurated as the 6th President of Ukraine on May 20, 2019. During his term, the President has seen many ups and downs while maintaining the peace within the nation. Several of his proposals were met with resistance but were meant to better the financial situation of Ukraine. However, it was during the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2022 that propelled the comedian turned politician to international fame. Zelenskyy was recognized worldwide for his leadership during the conflict, and curious people could not help but look into his past, which led them to ‘Servant of the People.’
Our eagle-eyed viewers must have noticed that Zelenskyy’s presidential campaign was eerily similar to Vasily’s rise to the presidency. While ‘Servant of the People’ is not based on a true story, it was almost prophetic, predicting Zelenskyy’s popularity as a potential president and the role of the internet. It is easy to see that Vasily’s determination and passion for the political situation of Ukraine is a reflection of Zelenskyy’s views.
Read More: The True Story Behind HBO’s Chernobyl, Explained
Is Tully a Mermaid or Does Marlo Imagine Her?
Jason Reitman’s directorial ‘Tully‘ is a touching comedy-drama movie. It centers around Marlo, a mother who has recently had her third child and struggles to find a balance between her responsibilities and needs. Just as she is on the brink of burnout, she hires a night nanny named Tully, who comes each night to take care of the baby. Relieved at this new source of help, the new mom befriends Tully and starts getting back to things she used to love.
However, soon the newfound friendship starts harming Marlo’s already deteriorating mental health and she has a car accident. While she is immersed underwater, she sees Tully coming and rescuing her in the form of a mermaid. But is the night nanny really a mythical creature or a part of Marlo’s imagination? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Tully a Mermaid?
Both the mermaid and Tully are pieces of Marlo’s imagination. After her son Jonah is born, she starts suffering from postpartum depression. Though it gradually gets cured, Marlo is overburdened with responsibilities at home and work. Since Jonah has an undiagnosable developmental disorder that causes anxious reactions to external stimuli, his mother devotes extra care and effort to making sure that he adjusts well to his environment.
Marlo’s workload increases when she and her husband Drew end up having an unexpected pregnancy. As she drags through without much of his help, she feels disconnected from herself and her family and starts seeking solace in watching erotica and mermaid videos on television. Craig, Marlo’s brother, pities her condition and offers to hire a night nanny for her, who shall come and help around once the baby is born. But she stubbornly refuses as she does not wish to hand over her child’s responsibilities to a stranger.
However, a few days after Marlo’s third child Mia is born, she gets overwhelmed due to exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Unable to carry out even basic functions properly, she contacts Tully, the night nanny Craig recommended. Her arrival proves to be a blessing for Marlo, and she gradually gets back to her life and passions. Moreover, both women become good friends and she starts confiding everything to Tully.
In the meanwhile, Marlo starts having frequent dreams of an unknown mermaid swimming toward her underwater, but she dismisses them away. As time progresses, her equation with Drew improves and she starts reminiscing about her old life as a young woman. Everything goes well until Tully impulsively suggests they go for an outing in the city one night. Marlo reluctantly agrees and the women drive to Brooklyn, where she used to live earlier with her roommate.
There, Tully declares that she is quitting the job, as her purpose of bridging a gap in Marlo’s life is fulfilled. Unfortunately, the latter panics and refuses to let go of her, as she has become an indispensable part of her life. Regardless, Tully helps her calm down and convinces her to drive back home. While driving, Marlo falls asleep and to save herself from an approaching vehicle, maneuvers the car into the river. As she is submerged underwater, she sees Tully coming to rescue her in the form of a mermaid, and passes out.
At the hospital, it is revealed that Tully is Marlo’s imagination of her 26-year-old self, as she seeks comfort from her current state in memories of her youth. When Marlo slips into postpartum depression again after Mia’s birth, she feels more and more afraid that her younger days are being left behind, and this dilemma coupled with exhaustion and sleep deprivation takes a toll on her mind. Thus, she creates Tully mentally, as a youthful respite from her worries. The mermaid figure is one more aspect of her imagination, where she often escapes her monotonous life by watching mermaid videos.
Both figments of Marlo’s imaginary world combine when she starts having bizarre dreams of mermaids after the night nanny arrives. During the accident, she faces a near-death moment and that is when she sees Tully and the mermaid merge into one to save her life. Later, at the hospital, she realizes that she needs to let go of Tully as it is harming her present life and bids her farewell. As Marlo recuperates and returns to her regular life, she stops seeing Tully or the mermaid, hence indicating that she is gradually healing from her mental agony, and does not need any imaginary getaway to escape into anymore.
Read More: Did Charlize Theron Gain Weight For Tully?