MESCAL: When you say, “You’re going to like it,” the class structure of it comes sharply into focus. It’s always there in the background, but that was played so well.
CORRIN: Totally, and he really got that. He spoke a lot about the tenderness in Oliver, which is something that was previously unexplored. We were like, “Wow, there’s a real depth here.” And then he was signed on and we had two weeks of rehearsals with [intimacy coordinator] Ita O’Brien.
MESCAL: Oh, nice. I know Ita well.
CORRIN: We love Ita.
MESCAL: Did she do the animal work with you?
CORRIN: Oh yeah. [Laughs] And then we also did—one of us was blindfolded and led the other outside and touched things and it was about trust and all that jazz.
MESCAL: I have an image of Emma Corrin leading Jack O’Connell blindfolded around the streets of London touching lampposts.
CORRIN: Pretty much. We had two weeks to basically chart the emotional journey for sex scenes, because we didn’t want any of them to be gratuitous.
MESCAL: Those sex scenes feel incredibly modern, and that’s what lasts with me. It’s aesthetically set in that period, but the relationship, if you took the costumes away and the way that they talk to each other sometimes—there are moments where it feels really modern. I don’t know if that dialogue is lifted from the novel.
CORRIN: It’s from the book. It’s wild.
MESCAL: Really? Wow.
CORRIN: Yeah. He uses the word “fuck” and I’m like, I didn’t even think that word existed in the ’20s. It’s an amazingly modern book. Especially the way it talks about sex. But what helped both of us with everything was that we did the dancing in the rain scene the first week of shooting.
MESCAL: Oh whoa, what was that experience like?
CORRIN: The most terrifying but exhilarating thing I’ve ever done in my life. There’s a lot of stuff that can be cushioned with the magic of filmmaking, but in that scene we were literally just running around naked in the rain.
MESCAL: I was like fair fucking play to you both because that’s really hard. How long did you shoot that scene for?
CORRIN: All day. The novelty really wore off by hour 11. It got really cold.
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