“Men” will be the harrowing new film from director and writer Alex Garland, whose previous films include sci-fi mind-benders such as “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation” as well as”Annihilation,” a Hulu special program “Devs.” Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”) is Harper who is a girl who fled London following the tragic death of her husband. She is living in a quiet house in the countryside of England. A troubling series of things that range from being snatched within the woodlands by an unattractive man to the increasingly aggressive behavior of the other men in the town — causes Harper realizes she’s being targeted by an ancient, primordial force that has several faces.
This last line is literal. The only exception is the husband of Jessie (played by Papa Essiedu), British actor Rory Kinnear plays every man in the film, from the extremely chubby Geoffrey who lets her home to the snobby local vicar, who gives her some hilariously uninformed suggestions. Kinnear also portrays the owner of the local pub as well as the patrons of the bar as well as a police officer the stalker who isn’t wearing clothes, and some bizarre manifestations of what can be described as the toxic masculine energy.
Or is that simply what Jessie thinks of them? The answer is left to viewers to determine in Garland’s dark film that is surreal and frightening. The two actors Buckley as well as Kinnear are exceptional and Kinnear’s shape-shifting performance is a masterclass. Kinnear, who has been MI6 head of staff Bill Tanner in the last four James Bond movies and recently was twins in the HBO pirate-themed comedy “Our Flag is Dead” -is quoted by Looper concerning what he thinks of his role(s), “There’s no going around how it could be a tense or spooky moment when you begin to know that it the identical person.”
Rory Kinnear knew he’d be in the role of nearly every character in the film
Was the intention always to play all the characters? Was that the way Alex suggested it to you? And was this in the script right from the beginning?
I’m not sure if this was mentioned in the story, but I’m sure this was the message that came up when I was presented with the role. It’s quite fascinating and impressive for an actor to perform all this in less than 90 minutes. The first thing I started to Alex when I caught up with him was that this wasn’t an exercise in acting or an exhibition of the chameleonic abilities. It shouldn’t be about me. Each character must be a part of this world of credibility and be as credible as Harper.
There’s no escaping this fact. It can be an enthralling or frightening experience to realize that this is the person you’ve been watching, and trying to figure out that it’s an identical person. This was Alex’s goal, but within every scene, every character is required to breathe, speak and act as if they were doing the same and in a way that is consistent with the other jobs you perform.
In a different film and with various people in it, This could very well be a trick, but the method you and Alex performed, slowly creates the impression to believe that all of them are one person.
We with Geoffrey I’m a little younger than he is, even though he’s already been. There was bound to be a little unsettling incident the first time you saw him, a bit of doubt about the casting of the character -who is playing the character? And there’s no explanation to explain it at first, until as the movie progresses you realize “Oh this is intended to create a spooky effect and it’s been done intentionally.”
Each person was given their unique look and backstory
Was it the case that Alex write specific descriptions of each character in the script or was it something you and he came up with throughout the process? I also read that you created bios for each character.
It was my first step. I knew there was someone who’s responsible for hair and makeup. There’s also likely to be someone responsible for costumes, and they’re going to be working at it themselves. It was not too early in the process of creating that I was able to go in the first place with the idea of “I’m experiencing it this way.” This was the reason when I was writing a biography, I didn’t write “He is like this,” or “He wears these.” It was more like, this is the story of this person, as I perceive them and these are the kinds of things they’re into as well as what they’re into and the music they enjoy and everything else.
I wasn’t trying to suggest the appearance of a person however, I was trying to portray the type of person they could be, due to the fact that in the script there wasn’t much of description. Particularly in the pubs, these characters. It was wonderful to be able to forward the script to Lisa Duncan who was the costume head as well as Nicole Stafford, the head of makeup, in order to begin the procedure with me. Then, they would givefeedback] on various mood boards regarding the looks that they liked, and we’d then meet together and discuss costumes. When we finally reached The Cotswolds to begin that rehearsal process, as we were in rehearsals near the location we planned to shoot, I’d try different looks as a matter of whether things felt right, and then eventually it felt as if they fit.
It was fascinating to see the characters you were drawn to, “Oh yeah, they have teeth, but they need to make them stand out a bit,” or “Actually, the contact lenses completely alter the person I am.” A vicar may be the sole one with contact lenses, yet it provides him with a completely distinct look. Also in a personal sense, I was observing the various ways people behaved towards me, from day to day, based on the character I was portraying. I wasn’t playing my character between shots as I was Rory and people behaved in a completely different way to me, based on what hairstyle and teeth I was wearing.
Once in a while, the man is naked
There are a lot of naked males in this film. It was a long time since it was an element of movies that were focused on women. In this film and definitely with the current climate in the past few years Do you feel more able to appreciate the experiences women had to work on sets in earlier times?
I’ll admit that the nudity is frequently CGI’d, however, I’ve performed nudity myself before and it’s an open thing, literally. The only issue with me is that, even though it’s been requested from me, I’m not sure it’s been used to attract attention. Although I’d want it to be I don’t think it’s. This aspect of female narcissism over the years has been a source of a lot of stress throughout the many years. There is some more transparency, honesty, and the ability to say “no” and seriously question the reason for it.
I’ve always felt this as a viewer too. I’m not keen on actors being harmed or feeling as if they’re serving the audience, or possibly feeding the gaze of a male, instead of something essential to the character. The reason why the nakedness is so important for this character in the film, is because of the supremacy of his character, the pure, unadorned nature of the world. You’re totally committed to the reasons this was so crucial.
The future of Bond with Bond and our Flag Could mean death
You’ve been Bill Tanner in the last four James Bond films — longer than some actors who have played Bond. Do you feel that your character Bill Tanner will be back with the next installment of 007?
I’m not sure. I had no idea from film to film through Daniel Craig’s time how likely I would ever be returning. You’ve always believed that you’d be back but it’s possible to see both possibly attractive. With a fresh Bond could attempt to create a completely new universe around him or — as with the character played by Judi Dench M[M] from Pierce [Brosnanfrom Pierce [Brosnan] to Daniel the film can attempt to create a sense that there is continuity. These are fun activities and I wouldn’t be able to put my foot down on it, but I fully see the possibilities in front of them, and I don’t know what direction they’ll take.
After playing several parts on “Men,” you recently were twins on “Our The Flag Is Dead.”
It’s a niche that I have found myself in.
How was the experience did you feel? Do you think that there will be an additional Badminton brother in the event that the show is renewed?
It was an absolute pleasure. It was great working on the Warner Brother lots, with the big ship, and getting to play two distinct brothers and characters — I was able to go straight from shooting “Men” in Los Angeles to Los Angeles to film that as well, which means you haven’t experienced anything so distinct in terms of the tone and tenor. Both have a seriousness and a seriousness of purpose as a genuine commitment to the issues each show is examining. Perhaps there are many similarities, but not as many differences.
“Men” is currently playing in theaters.