Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson boast some impressive facial hair in the first-look photo from Robert Eggers' new horror film, The Lighthouse. It's been a few years now since Eggers broke out onto the scene with his feature debut, The Witch. Fully titled The Witch: A New England Folktale, the drama earned a whole ton of buzz at Sundance in 2015 and is still ranked among the best horror movies of the decade by many genre buffs. It also made a star out of Anya-Taylor Joy, before she went on to appear in M. Night Shymalan's Split and Glass.
However, like a lot of arthouse horror offerings, The Witch struggled to cross over into the mainstream. It didn't need to, fortunately, and ultimately grossed ten times its $4 million budget at the global box office. While Eggers reportedly still wants to reunite with Taylor-Joy on a remake of the silent vampire classic Nosferatu, his sophomore effort will take on the form of an original movie titled The Lighthouse. Now, A24 has begun to pull back the curtain on the film.
While The Lighthouse doesn't have a release date just yet, it's been confirmed to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Directors' Fortnight program in May. Dafoe and Pattinson are starring in the film as (respectively) a 19th century lighthouse keeper known as Old and his younger associate. In response to the Cannes announcement, A24 released an image of the pair in the movie online. Take a look in the space below.
Among other things, The Witch was celebrated for its unsettling, tense sense of atmosphere and meticulous attention to historical detail (from its natural lighting to its archaic New England dialogue). The Lighthouse is expected to have most of the same qualities, and was shot in black and white 35 mm no less. Dafoe and Pattinson certainly have the look of working-class men who keep a lighthouse running in the 1800s down pat, based on this image alone. The film is described as a fantasy, so there's presumably some supernatural element to the story that contributes to the harrowing, isolated nature of their existence (a la the family in The Witch).
For Pattinson, The Lighthouse marks yet another intriguing development in his evolution as a character actor. The Twilight star has left his heartthrob days firmly behind in order to play a variety of roughshod and sometimes downright repulsive characters in recent indie and/or arthouse films like Good Time, The Lost City of Z, and this month's High Life. Similarly, The Lighthouse sits next to Midsommar on this year's list of anticipated scary offerings from filmmakers who made their grand entrance with acclaimed, if decidedly cult horror movies in the past few years. It's definitely one to keep an eye out for.