Lamb director threw Noomi Rapace into a live sheep birth on day 1
The title suggests that the new, eerie drama is a bit of a mystery. LambFinds NumerousThe spotlight is on sheep and lambs.
There is Ada, the mysterious half-lamb half-human child adopted by farmers María (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason). The movie begins in spring when the farmers are tending to their large flock of sheep. Even before the miraculous birth of Ada, María and Ingvar deliver two other sheep into the world. It is a long process with two farmers digging into mama sheeps to bring out their wee lambs.
There were no special effects to help the animals conceive. They were also the original scenes for the film. They immediately started to work.
“This was Noomi’s first day and she had never done it before,” explains director Valdimar Jóhannsson. “She just came one day before we started shooting.”
The LambThe natural order of the births meant that crew had to be under intense pressure. Only 10 sheep from the flock onscreen had ever given birth when production began.
“That was our only chance,” says Jóhannsson. “[Noomi]Just watched the farmer twice, then she just waited. We called her when we saw that it was happening.”
Filming a sheep birth is not as easy as it sounds — and it doesn’t exactly sound easy. The film crew had to not only get deep inside the animal in order to extract the baby but also plan the shoot to coincide with when the sheep goes into labor. Giving birth is hard, and as Jóhannsson says, they wanted the sheep to “feel good” and thus needed to pivot the camera to where the sheeps were instead of vice versa. And as someone who spent a lot of time with sheep, that was particularly important to Jóhannsson.
“My grandparents, they were sheep farmers. When I was a child, I spent so much time there and so I’m very used to working with sheep,” he says. “I’m also used to animals. We had very good people with us — some farmers and animal wranglers. I thought it would be more difficult.”
LambIt is now available in cinemas
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