15 Brilliant Robert Eggers Quotes on Storytelling and Filmmaking

After the success of The Lighthouse, it was no surprise to see Robert Eggers helm a blockbuster, particularly one with such a talented cast. With The Northman, Eggers announced himself as a visionary director who could exist outside indie-arthouse film. In light of this, we’ve collected 15 of the most interesting Robert Eggers quotes for a closer perspective on his directorial style and approach to storytelling in general.

Robert Eggers – From Stage to Screen

Born in New Hampshire in 1983, Eggers began his career in the theatre. He worked as a production designer and director in downtown New York. During this time, he also took part in many of his own productions, starring in Othello as Iago, for example.

In 2007, Eggers made his first short film, Hansel & Gretel, an animated adaptation of the Brothers Grimm story of the same name.

His feature-length debut came in 2015, with the release of The Witch, a supernatural horror. The story for the film stemmed from Eggers’ fascination with the Salem witch trials, with him stating he’d visited the town multiple times. Inspiration was also drawn from locations present throughout his childhood, the woods of Southern New Hampshire providing a significant influence on the setting.

The film met critical acclaim and launched the career of both Eggers and lead actor, Anya Taylor-Joy.

The Witch | Official Trailer HD | A24

For some reason, no one wanted to give me money to make a movie written in early modern English that involved a lot of puritans praying – even if it did involve a witch.

Robert Eggers

Four years later, Robert Eggers’ fascination with the horror genre took another fascinating form, with The Lighthouse. Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, the film was also co-written by sibling Max Eggers. The film was praised for its revolutionary use of camera work, earning nominations from both BAFTA and the Academy.

Robert Eggers – A Distinct Voice

Despite having limited feature films under his belt, Eggers’ style is unmistakable. His part in the return of arthouse horror is indisputable, with dread and paranoia always a present force in his writing. The similarities in his filmography are as noticeable as the differences, with The Lighthouse sharing the aforementioned elements of suspense with The Witch.

This could be due to his lasting partnership with cinematographer, Jarin Blaschke, a collaborator on all of Eggers’ feature-length productions. The pair have worked together since The Witch, with Eggers’ background in production design complementing Blaschke’s vision beautifully. The craftsmanship is evident all over his work; The Lighthouse, for example, was produced in 2:1 format to emphasize the sense of claustrophobia in the lighthouse itself.

Robert Eggers’ career trajectory should continue to provide fascinating. In a relatively short amount of time, he’s managed to establish a distinct cinematic voice, as well as a considerable cult following. So let’s take a look at 15 great Robert Eggers quotes to provide insight into what makes this exciting storyteller tick.

THE NORTHMAN - Official Trailer - Only In Theaters April 22

Robert Eggers Quotes on… Inspiration

1. “From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga‘ was huge for me. Seeing how all the creatures were made, looking inside Jabba The Hut, all of the maquettes lined up, building the world… ‘This is a job?!’ I was always avidly watching special features and behind the scenes stuff.”

2. “I think I had my answers to the questions in The Witch and I had my answers to the questions in The Lighthouse; I need those in order to write and direct them.”

3. “Cinemascope has become synonymous with ‘epic,’ and absolutely if you’re shooting armies and certain kinds of vast landscapes, you do want that panoramic canvas to work on. But if you look at art history there’s not a whole lot of epic paintings that are in that aspect ratio.”

THE NORTHMAN - "To Valholl" Official Clip - Only in Theaters April 22

Robert Eggers Quotes on… The Creative Process

4. “Look, some days, you have to film a sequence in which the rain is pounding down on someone and you’re just turning the camera on what’s happening. And other days, you occasionally have to spray Robert Pattinson in the face with a firehose”

5. “Certainly as a director you want to be working with people who are on the same page as you and that you can trust and get along with.”

6. “Every actor demands different things. Every human being you come in contact with in your life, you have to deal with in slightly different ways.”

7. “The Lighthouse couldn’t have been made without this kind of freedom that has allowed some filmmakers to be able to play around with genre. Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale is more horrific than any horror movie – but also, I don’t think you could make that movie without this kind of freedom.”

8. “What’s so interesting to me about history is – what’s interesting to anyone – is how humans are the same. Their belief systems were so different. They had different metaphysical truths than we do. And yet we’re the same.”

The Lighthouse | Official Trailer HD | A24

Robert Eggers Quotes on… Storytelling and the Industry

9. “I think where genre is limiting is that in the marketplace, you have to put things in a box to create expectations to make a profit, and that’s where you run into trouble.”

10. “What I love about research is when I’m having a bad day and I can’t write, I’ll just research some more, I’ll learn some more and I’ll have a better command of the world of the film.”

11. “I don’t like twists. I don’t get much out of them. If you know two cars are about to run into each other, you don’t walk away and say, ‘Oh, I know what’s going to happen.’ You watch.”

12. “There’s a lot of cool stuff going on in independent film. But obviously, yeah – all the comic-book-franchise stuff is deeply boring. But these comic-book characters are the pagan pantheon of gods in today’s contemporary culture. It’s so important to so many people”.

The Witch | Caleb Possession | Official Clip HD | A24

Robert Eggers Quotes on… Horror

13. “What’s important to me about horror stories is to look at what’s actually horrifying about humanity, instead of shining a flashlight on it and running away giggling.”

14. “The figure of the witch was interesting to me, because of the primal, archetypical witch nightmares I had, even as an adult. But as a kid, it started with Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard Of Oz as this inescapable horror”

15. “In earlier cultures with pagan belief systems, light and dark were celebrated equally, people were around death a lot. In contemporary Western culture, we don’t have that, and horror is a place you can be immersed in it.”

Enjoyed our list of Robert Eggers quotes? Why not have a look at our other quotes articles, such as Alex Garland and Shonda Rhimes.

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This article was written by Noah Green and edited by IS Staff.

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