Bill Skarsgård Has a Lot to Say About His “Very Sexualized” ‘Nosferatu’ Look

“I do not think people are gonna recognize me,” Bill Skarsgård says about his role in Robert Eggers’s upcoming horror film Nosferatu. In the updated silent horror classic, Skarsgård will play Count Orlok, a terrifying and slender monster with exceptionally long nails. The film will premiere on December 25, but the studio has gone to great lengths to hide Skarsgård’s ghastly portrayal so far.

“He’s gross,” Skarsgård puts it in our latest cover story, “but it is very sexualized.” Based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Orlok is a vampire that skews more Morbius than Twilight. Still, don’t let that pale and sickly figure fool you. It’s playing with a sexual fetish about the power of the monster and what that appeal has to you,” the actor explains. “Hopefully you’ll get a little bit attracted by it and disgusted by your attraction at the same time.”

Robert Eggers, best known for films such as The Lighthouse and The Northman, began work on Nosferatu in 2015—right after finishing his debut film, The Witch. Putting Nosferatu onscreen has been a longtime passion project for the gothic-horror director. Eggers’s all-star cast includes Skarsgård, Nicholas Hoult, Lily-Rose Depp, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Emma Corrin, and Willem Dafoe.

When news broke that Eggers was beginning work on Nosferatu again, Skarsgård reportedly jumped at the chance to join the film.It was like, ‘Whatever this guy does, I just want to be a part of anything that this guy is making,’ ” Skarsgård tells Esquire. He wrote a long and “pleading” email to Eggers, he recalls, that referenced the director’s hometown and expressed how “desperate” he was to “rekindle this thing and be a part of it.”

lily rose depp nosferatu
Lily-Rose Depp stars as Ellen Hutter, a yougn woman haunted by Orlok’s terrifying infatuation.Focus Feautres

Skarsgård read for the role multiple times, finally landing the part following a full makeup test. “It was like conjuring pure evil,” he says. “It took a while for me to shake off the demon that had been conjured inside of me.” His Pennywise chops clearly paid off.

“Somewhere in that second makeup test, I was like, ‘He’s become the character,’ ” Eggers remembers. “It was eerie to see in the footage. Anything he did, anywhere he turned or looked, you were like, ‘He’s got it.’ ”

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