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Robert Eggers offers update on his Nosferatu remake

The sun may be rising for Robert Eggers' planned remake of F.W. Murnau's iconic 1922 vampire flick Nosferatu.

For the record, that's probably not a good thing — because sunlights kills vampires. And from the sounds of things, Eggers' long-gestating remake of the iconic vampire drama may be on the verge of fading from existence. 

The filmmaker recently sat down with the folks at Den of Geek to discuss his latest frightful feature The Lighthouse, and was promptly asked to discuss the current state of his Nosferatu remake. It sounds like the project may have landed firmly on the director's back burner for the time being.

"Look, I spent so many years and so much time, just so much blood on it, yeah, it would be a real shame if it never happened," Eggers said. "But also, I don't know, maybe Nosferatu doesn't need to be made again, even though I've spent so much time on that."

While those comments don't outright confirm Eggers has moved on from Nosferatu, they certainly imply that the film may be facing a fairly grim future.

If you'll recall, the Nosferatu remake was the project Eggers had originally planned as his follow-up to his masterful breakout horror film The Witch. The slow-burning creeper initially set the 2015 Sundance Film Festival crowds a-flitter with its pitch-perfect blend of old-world angst and sinister, supernatural energy, but it didn't actually arrive in theaters until over a year after its festival debut — and did so with what many believed to be a lackluster release plan. While The Witch was quietly building what's become a rather impressive legacy — and equally fervid fanbase — via releases on DVD and streaming platforms, Eggers was apparently hard at work putting plans together to revisit Murnau's expressionistic masterpiece.

There was even an official announcement in 2015 that Nosferatu would be Eggers' first film post-The Witch – with the director noting at the time that he had cast Anya Taylor-Joy, his breakout star from The Witch, in a key role. All was quiet on the Transylvanian front in the months after that announcement, and Eggers eventually confirmed that the Willem Dafoe-and-Robert Pattinson-starring period fantasy The Lighthouse would listed be his follow-up to The Witch. With that film in theaters now, and with this fresh update on Nosferatu, it seems that the hotly-anticipated vampire project may not materialize after all.

It may not be a matter of 'when' but 'if' for Eggers' Nosferatu

Still, there's hope in Eggers' statements — if only of a begrudging nature. It's clear from the filmmaker's "so much time, just so much blood" remark that a lot of work has gone into bringing Nosferatu back to the masses. 

In the same statement, Eggers also noted his affinity for "finding things that are on the fringes and sort of half-forgotten," and his desire to "remind us of those things." Though Nosferatu has been made and re-made dozens of times since Murnau first unleashed the titular vamp on theatergoers — most notably by Werner Herzog in 1979 with Klaus Kinski in the lead — Eggers clear gifts for bringing fresh energy to so-called "fringe" stories and characters would seem to make this tale of the O.G. vampire an ideal fit for his moody sensibilities. Either way, it's fairly obvious Eggers hasn't entirely given up on the film.

As for why The Lighthouse jumped ahead of Nosferatu on Eggers' slate of upcoming projects, the director went on to tell Den of Geek that while Murnau's vampire classic was definitely on his mind throughout The Witch's production, The Lighthouse was also very much in the planning phases while he was shooting that film. 

"I remember saying to Craig Lathrop, the production designer, when we were kind of finishing up that movie, 'I want to make this lighthouse movie, which will be very, very contained, but we're going to have more money, so we can really have a lot more control and just plan, plan, and plan,'" shared Eggers.

Ultimately, Eggers' plans for The Lighthouse came through first — no doubt due in part to the participation of heavyweights like Dafoe and Pattinson, with whom the director apparently had a complicated relationship. With The Lighthouse already receiving rave reviews from critics, the film is all but certain to dramatically raise Eggers' profile in Hollywood. And that could mean Eggers might have a chance to get Nosferatu back on track in the very near future. 

In fact, Eggers is already prepping his follow-up to The Lighthouse – though he also refuses confirm whether or not that film will be Nosferatu, or some other frightful treat, which may well be a lesson hard-learned in the wake of his Nosferatu announcements over four years ago. 

"The thing is I don't want to throw around titles because I was throwing around all my titles last time," he said. "I'm in prep for another movie. I hope it happens, but until I'm on set, saying 'action,' I don't really know if it's going to be the next one, you know?"

As for whether or not Eggers will ever call "action" on the set of Nosferatu, we'll have to wait and see like everyone else. Until then, the maddening delights promised in Eggers' The Lighthouse, which is set to hit theaters on October 18, should more than sate the appetites of the director's rapidly growing fanbase.