The Northman: Transforming into a Viking, A Look Back at Alexander Skarsgard’s Crazy Preparation

Discover Alexander Skarsgard’s preparation to become a Viking, from his diet to his daily training, in the relentless “The Northman”, in cinemas since May 11.

After his brother Gustaf in the series of the same name, it was Alexander Skarsgard who played the Vikings for the needs of The Northman. Third feature film directed by Robert Eggers, after The Witch and The Lighthouse, this follows Prince Amleth’s quest for revenge for the duration of a beastly tale. Like his hero. Or the filming, which put its actors to the test.

Among them, Alexander Skarsgard is undoubtedly the one who suffered the most. Because his character enjoys most of the screen time. And shines in the most physical scenes. Hence an intensive preparation in the company of Magnus Lygdback, celebrity coach who returned to variety on this experience, which notably involved a strict diet.

With no less than five meals a day and the need to eat protein every two or three hours to keep his metabolism going, Alexander Skarsgard saved 3,700 calories daily. Of the twenty meals the actor had to eat over a four-day period, seventeen consisted of a protein (often fish), a vegetable and complex carbohydrates, of which starchy foods (pasta, rice, etc.) are the main source. And the other three felt like rewards, allowing the actor to indulge in whatever he wanted.


Universal photos

When it was time for the “pleasure meal” for Alexander Skarsgard

But that is not everything. Because of course this diet was accompanied by intensive training, designed from the personality of his Amleth: “His spirit animals are the bear and the wolf”specifies Magnus Lygdback. “And that’s exactly what we tried to embody through Alexander’s muscles and movements. The wolf is very agile and this Viking is also the size of a bear. You can get scared just by looking at him. Looking.”

A physical and psychological transformation that took less time than one might think. “You see actors all the time in interviews saying that they exercised several hours a day. But that’s not necessarily true. They could exercise four hours a day, but what was their gym session?”

“I never train my clients for more than an hour because what doesn’t happen in the first hour won’t happen the second hour. All you do, after the first hour, is start to weaken your body. So it was an hour one day, six days a week. Then, during filming, five days a week.” Everything for a striking result. And beastly in more ways than one.

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