Black and Paper interview with God’s Own Country stars Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu at the 67th Berlinale.
God’s Own Country has received acclaimed on many fronts. One of the main ingredients for the well-received film has been the chemistry of the lead actors, new comers who have given note-worthy performances.
What is your acting background?
Alec-Acting in Romania, theater, shorts. This is my first lead role in a film.
Josh-I have been acting for 6 years. I have been doing theater, parts in films and television. This is my second lead role.
Certain scenes of the film were a bit more “open” than others, how did you prepare for these scenes?
We knew about it when we read the script. Some scenes were “open” but after meeting Francis, he knew what he wanted. It was not gratuitous. We rehearsed, choreographed, like a dance routine. Those scenes were a part of the story.
The movie depended on your relationship with each other, were you comfortable working with each other at the beginning?
We shot the movie in chronological order. The production was a 6 week shoot. We rehearsed but stayed cleared each other. We trained on different farms, working 8 hours a day. We came together after the first week of production. During the filming we became friends.
The movie evolved from contempt to affection.
Yeah, Gheorghe changes Johnny. At the beginning of the film he is stooped over, closed off from everyone. His outlook changes during the relationship.
How have you handled the critical acclaim?
We are proud of our work with the reviews from Sundance and the Berlinale.
Josh-It is a film about optimism. What is happening in the UK now, Brexit, I think it is important message.
The other film with LGBT theme at Sundance was Call Me By Your Name but our film is not about sexuality.
What did your family think when they saw the film?
Alec- My family has been supportive, Romania does not have a tradition of rights for LGTB. I hope this film will help with a better understanding of LGBT people.
You had an incident not related to the film, but because of your background?
Alec-While I was in Yorkshire I went to buy a beer in a convenience store. The cashier asked to see my ID, when he I showed him it to him, Romania, he refused to sell me anything.
Josh-My family has not seen it.
What is next for you guys?
Alec- I want to work more in English Language films.
Josh-I am attached to a big indie film, a love story.
Black and Paper recommends God’s Own Country. A poignant film about life, love gained, and consequences when the unexpected occurs.
God’s Own Country was screened at the 67th Berlinale in Panorama Section.