Robert Eggers’ 2016 horror film The Witch was a slow burn of spookiness, gradually ramping up the unease and the general misery for 90 minutes or so right up until—spoiler alert—the goat starts talking, but his follow-up may just be an elaborate prank against star Robert Pattinson. Titled The Lighthouse, the movie is supposedly a “fantasy horror story set in the world of old sea-faring myths” that is shot totally in black-and-white (which sounds fucking rad, for the record), and Pattinson says there was a day on set where Eggers made him do five takes of a scene that involved him walking across a beach and getting sprayed with water. Eventually, he went up to Eggers and said, “What the fuck is going on? I feel like you’re just spraying a fire hose in my face,” to which Eggers responded, “I am spraying a fire hose in your face.”
That comes from a chat in Interview Magazine (via IndieWire) between Pattinson and his Lighthouse co-star Willem Dafoe, and Pattinson said it was the closest he has ever come to “punching a director” and that it was “like some kind of torture.” He conceded that it did give the production an “interesting energy,” and it sounds like there was a general intensity on set that both Pattinson and Dafoe channeled into their performances. Dafoe says the two of them hardly ever talked when they weren’t filming, but he was impressed with the way Pattinson just kind of jumped into shooting without rehearsal, giving his performance a chance to seem “more real” and not impacted by “pre-knowledge.” As it turns out, Pattinson says he just didn’t really understand Eggers’ script, so he tried to be more “cerebral” than “physical”—introducing the possibility that Eggers gave him a fake script, lending credence to our theory that The Lighthouse is actually an elaborate prank.