VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Jack Lowden & Jeremy Irvine On Playing A Gay Couple In ‘Benediction’
Jack Lowden and Jeremy Irvine star in Benediction, a movie that follows the life of famed British poet Siegfried Sassoon as he navigates affairs while being a closeted man and his anti-war stance in the middle of the First World War.
Lowden and Irvine recently sat for a conversation with uInterview founder Erik Meers to discuss their characters and how they studied the real-life people they were portraying.
“I think how sort of magnificent it was in a way, in the people that [Siegfried] encountered and the people he had affairs with, the woman who he married … you know I think he lived an incredibly full life in that sense,” Lowden said. “I don’t think whether he was happy or not I think that remains to be seen. You could probably say he wasn’t, but I think there are some people who would be kind of happy with the experiences that he had and the people he slept with. It shows you how boring you are now.”
Irvine made sure to note that his character was meant to be unlikable.
“What’s important to note here is I’m playing [Igor] through Siegfried Sassoon’s eyes and Siegfried was someone who was deeply hurt by Ivor,” he said. “He destroyed his diaries that he kept from his time with Ivor. For me, it was just a lovely opportunity and an excuse, I suppose, to really make him quite horrid.”
From watching the movie, the audience may question why Siegfried was drawn to someone who treated him badly.
“I think he fancied the pants off him,” Lowden revealed. “I think he just was all meat. I think he was one of an incredibly good-looking human being, which Jeremy is as well, and I think remarkably talented, dark and mysterious, so what’s not to like?”
There’s an extra pressure on actors when they are cast to play a person who actually existed. When it comes to studying the real person, both actors said there’s a balance to be found.
“There’s a plethora of stuff on both of them, so there was loads there but there’s only so much that’s useful before it becomes indulgent and gets in the way,” Lowden shared. “It’s almost like if you inform yourself too much with a director, like Terence [Davies], who’s written the script, it will prevent you from giving yourself over to the script as much, so you have to temper it a bit.”
“I started researching and watched a few of Ivor’s old silent movies but then went you know, ‘I’m not playing him as him, I’m playing him as Siegfried saw him,’ Irvine said. “In the end, I found two or three photos of him in his full silent movie makeup with the dark eyeliner and the white paint they used to put on and just thought he looked really sinister and I ended up sending a few photos to Terence saying, ‘I really want to go for that!'”
Benediction comes to theaters this Friday in select theaters across the country.