When Robert Eggers and his cast and crew decamped to Nova Scotia to shoot his black-and-white 1.19:1 aspect ratio The Lighthouse, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, they might nearly have contributed a permanent marker for the landscape of Yarmouth County. That’s according to Pattinson, who says the locals fought to keep the lighthouse set when the movie wrapped. “The people who lived there afterwards were kind of doing a campaign to keep the lighthouse there,” he said. “Because it looked so beautiful, and it looked like it really belonged there. And you’re like, ‘You know it’s made out of wood? Like, it’s impossible.’ But no one would know that that was a set.”
It was a helper, he said, as he dove into the madness of Eggers’ Lovecraftian descent, because “other than a camera and a porta-potty, there was absolutely no trace of [anything] differentiating it from reality.”
For Willem Dafoe, Eggers’ tale of two lighthouse keepers—one older, one younger—offered a sense of adventure. “That relationship between the two men in it, I have lots of interest in that, because it expresses kind of elemental things about relationships and ways of being, and how you live your life, and belief,” he explained. “For me, there was a lot to think about, and a lot to act upon in the screenplay.”
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