Rory Kinnear on how he made his characters in 'Men'

Rory Kinnear said director Alex Garland was open to 'provocations' from he and co-star Jessie Buckley during the making of his new movie Men.

The film follows Buckley's character Harper as she retreats to a quiet country house in an attempt to deal with the death of her husband (Paapa Essiedu), who died in an apparent suicide after a row in which he hit Harper.

But there's something amiss in the rural village, in which every man shares the face of Kinnear — including a nine-year-old boy rendered with deliberately uncanny valley CGI — and they all seem to be unnerving in their own ways.

Video transcript

- Rory, did you have any input, I guess, on the many characters you play?

RORY KINNEAR: Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

[LAUGHTER]

They simply wound up in the morning, and my mouth flap-- flapped away. He actually did all the-- he did all the lines. You know, no, Alex is-- yeah, I mean, the-- the script itself, you sort of knew that these characters were representations of particular sort of figures of society and figures of authority.

But you wanted to make sure that you fleshed them out and made them as credible and that they existed within this world and within this rural landscape as much as the natural world was going to figure as well. So he was pretty-- he was pretty open. And I-- once I'd read the script, and we'd-- I'd talked to Alex and signed on, I wrote, like, biographies for each of the-- each of the characters, sent them off to him.

They sent them off to their hair and makeup and-- and wardrobe. So it was very much a sort of a collaboration until we got to-- until we got to set. And then even on set, he was up for, you know, further provocations from-- from both of us. So, yeah, it was really fun, creative time in that respect.

- Obviously, it's such an intense film. Was there an intensity on set? Or were you kind of keeping it light off camera so that it could be dark on camera?

RORY KINNEAR: I think the heart of the stuff that you have to film, the lighter-- the-- the lighter the ripple or the stronger the release valve. And obviously, we were filming during COVID. So we-- it was basically just the two of us both at work and then at the hotel as well.

I mean, we were pretty much the only people staying in this very haunted-seeming country hotel and then going to this haunted-seeming country house to work all day. So, yeah, you had to make sure that you laughed as well. Otherwise, it would be glum town.

JESSIE BUCKLEY: And Rory is a very, very funny man, so there was a lot of times--

RORY KINNEAR: And Jessie needs cheering up.

[LAUGHTER]

She can wallow terribly.

JESSIE BUCKLEY: Boo-Hoo Buckley.

RORY KINNEAR: Good old Boo-Hoo.

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