YYou can never be sure who you will meet when you interview an actor. Will it be the rude landowner with prosthetic teeth and a beautiful holiday mansion, the hairless, handcuffed vicar, or perhaps the phantasmagoric green man who lets it all hang? Rory Kinnear is all of this – and more – in his latest film, Men, a terrifying symbolist horror mix written and directed by Alex Garland. But the man who had just walked through London to be photographed and interviewed – with no caregivers in tow – looks as menacing as a beautiful spring day, and is so refreshingly kind that before the end of the photo shoot he blinked confidence from the. a photographer that even her family does not yet know.
Kinnear poses as no less than eight men in the film, a slap of hand, body and face that culminates in a bar scene where five of them drink together at the bar. How is that even possible? “It was pretty distrustful in fact,” he says. “It was basically a matter of camera angles and having to stand in certain places, with five substitutes for the characters I played who were all dressed similarly and aged similarly. We would do the scene five ways and I would only play one of the characters. But it also puts a lot of limits on you: how can you not wander there, because it will cost us another 20 thousand in post-production. “
It’s all in one day’s work for one of Britain’s most versatile actors. “Stringly,” he says, “I’ve now made several several versions of myself on stage; it was my fourth time doing it, which is a weird niche I was in, but that means I know a little bit about the score now. It’s pretty expensive, but it’s also fun. ”
Like “the Creature”, in one episode of the cult horror series Penny Terura, he played three versions of himself in a padded cell – “just me and Eva Green and no yellow contact lenses, which was nice because it meant I could actually see her”. In the black comedy of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith Jan. No. 9, he was a Shakespearean pair of long-lost twin brothers. Immediately after Men, he jumped to the United States for a comedy series, Our Flag Means Death, in which he played twins again. Among other things, it was meant to be chased by its own 3D printed skull, through a succession of makeup trucks. For Men, there were several such trucks, draped in wigs and prostheses. “Then I got into a makeup truck on the set for Our Flag Means Death and there was my skull, sent to haunt me again.”
Kinnear’s co-star in the film is Jessie Buckley, who plays Harper, a woman plagued by the aftermath of a violent marriage, who seeks refuge in an idyllic Cotswolds hideout, only to find it besieged by incarnations of her worst nightmares. Among them are a priest and a police officer, the very men to whom women in danger are most likely to run. But while both institutions have rarely been far from the headlines in recent years as out-of-control patriarchal agencies, Kinnear does not want to attach the film to any political message. “It would be a little too simplistic to say, ‘God, aren’t men bad?’ I don’t think it does, ”he insists. “It is a portrait of men through the eyes of a woman who has just suffered a traumatic event because of what we see as a violent relationship. So it starts in that sadness, and post-trauma, and I think it reflects on what trauma does to the way one person sees the world. It’s the story of Harper’s experience. “
So what kind of man is Kinnear? He became part of the pandemic story with some initially loving, later angry articles about Covid’s death from his disabled sister Karina, whose burial was in the day from one of the Downing Street parties. He felt comforted, he wrote, by the feeling of solidarity. “Pain like ours has plagued families around the world. So, somehow, it felt like we were all in it together. No, no all from us, it turns out. No. them. ”
Inevitably, he says now, he was formed from a childhood in which he not only had an older sister with severe learning difficulties, but also lost his father – actor Roy Kinnear – in a strange film accident when he was 10 years old. . “I had a very strong and loving mother and two loving sisters, and when I grew up there was often a nurse in the house. I went to boy-only school, but I was from a single-woman house, so even at the age of 13 or 14, I guess I didn’t necessarily reconcile myself with traditional male roles. I didn’t play sports much. I did drama and I liked books, but that felt as masculine as it was feminine at the time; that didn’t bother me. ”
Acting was a family business: his mother, Carmel Cryan, has been in EastEnders for a while; his godfather was Michael Williams, the husband of Judi Dench (who accepted the role after the death of her husband and continues to send him birthday presents), so becoming an actor was not such a distant dream. But the tumult of mourning put an old man’s head on his young shoulders and he did not go to theater school until after graduating in English from Oxford.
“I felt like I wasn’t going to get anywhere until I was about 40, because I felt like I was around 40 when I was 14, and so I just assumed I would have to wait for my body to regain my sense of who I was. was, ”he says. “Everything that happened before that was a pleasant surprise. I never really expected myself to play Hamlet and such. ” double hit in the 2014 Critics’ Circle awards as an actor (Iago in Othello) and the author of the year most promising debut playclose to a home piece about a family with a disabled child.
Kinnear is 44, the father of two young children. His early exploits and disgusting faltering stories have been pushed aside by sinister character parts such as MI6 agent Bill Tanner in the James Bond films and British fascist leader Colin Jordan in the recent television miniseries. Ridley Road. But he loves to laugh and becomes foggy when he talks about showing his little son the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory for the first time, where his dad plays the father of Veruca Salt. “There’s a dad doing some priming as he walks down the egg slope, my son just laughing and making me replay and replay it,” he says. “What a wonderful legacy that is. Fifty years after he committed this abomination, the grandson he never met laughs away. “
His own sense of humor is “pretty dark,” he says. He has a much-repeated festive gag about wanting to be a butcher when he was little because the local butcher’s missing finger proved his love for the job. He laughs like a wicked child when I tell him that the critic sitting next to me at a screening of Men greeted the appearance of a decaying deer by loudly asking, “And is that so? Rory Kinneartoo? ”
It’s a humor he shares with Buckley, as they discovered when they were locked up together for rehearsals together in Garland’s dad’s Cotswolds home, and later after the filming of each day at a Cheltenham hotel, with the world locked down around them. “It was definitely one of the most intense work-related experiences,” he says, “but luckily Jessie is one of the best laughs in the world.”
He looks back on the two pandemic years as the best and worst times. It allowed him to spend a lot of time with his partner, the actor Pandora Colin, and their children, but none with his dying sister. Just like someone whose life was shaped by an unnecessary accident (his father fell off a horse in a scene the stuntmen refused to do), he is encouraged by moves in the film world to make it a safer place, through inventions such. as intimacy coordinators, even while the abuse cases continue to appear. “I think there’s enough questioning,” he says.
And then he launches a reef, issued in such an unbridled voice, and with such a poker face, that it’s hard to figure out how serious he is. “It’s really been beauty for the last four or five years. Obviously, people have different opinions about it, and obviously there’s quite a bit of unpleasantness around nowadays. A lot of politics has become non-pleasant, but it seems that we are hoping to move to a more beautiful world, and there has been a momentum. The move to beauty is probably – um – beautiful. “Enough horror; give the man a political comedy slit.