Watch: Jessie Buckley discusses whether it mattered that Men had male director
The Oscar-nominated star plays the lead role in Ex Machina filmmaker Alex Garland’s new folk horror, in which she plays a woman who hopes to regroup at a country home after the death of her abusive husband.
She has a series of unsettling encounters with men from the local village, who are all portrayed by Rory Kinnear — including a vicar and a nine-year-old boy — and seem to embody different facets of the ways in which men are a danger to women.
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With issues of gender at the centre of the movie, there has been some criticism of the film online surrounding the fact Garland — a white man — is the person telling the story.
“I want to work with men and women. We’ve got to be in a conversation with each other,” Buckley told Yahoo when asked about the criticism.
She added: “Alex offered up an interesting question and I think was equally open to having a woman respond with a film on the other side of what Men is.
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“I think it’s reductive to be divisive like that and say that only women can tell one story and only men can tell another story, otherwise you’re never going to actually grow together.
“You’re just going to live linearly together and have separate points of view. Each to their own.”
Kinnear added that the journey through the making of the film served as ‘a process of learning’ for him, Buckley and Garland equally.
He added: “Particularly the two weeks we had in rehearsals, which was essentially Jessie, myself and Alex sat in a room chatting — as much about the script as not about the script.
“All of those discussions then fed into the script that we were going to make, so it was as much from a female as a male perspective.”
The film was released in the USA earlier this month and Buckley and Kinnear revealed that finally getting to see the finished movie with an audience was a unique experience.
“It was really surprising. I enjoyed hearing the comedy come through in this film,” said Buckley.
“There’s such a discomfort in this film and an unnervingness in this film that it’s interesting to hear comedy in a film like that. And also it’s quite fun watching men’s faces in the last 15 minutes.”
Without spoiling anything, that last 15 minutes will certainly get tongues wagging and will prove to be an unforgettable experience for fans of body horror.
Kinnear added: “The last 15 minutes was when most of the post-production and VFX painting had been done, so you were interested to see how that was being brought to life.
“But for most of the rest of the film, it’s actually not that VFX or prosthetics-heavy. And the first time I met Alex, that’s what he wanted to make sure. This is not about prosthetics. This is about acting.”
Men will be released in UK cinemas from 1 June.
Watch: Trailer for Alex Garland horror movie Men