It was announced back in February that the BAFTA-nominated film would be heading to Netflix back in February, and now it has arrived.
Having received almost universal acclaim (and currently holding a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), the film is a must-see for lovers of queer cinema.
The film was set in rural Yorkshire and followed the story of Johnny (John O’Connor) and Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu).
Despite initial tension, the two soon become engaged in a passionate liaison in the great outdoors. The film chooses realism over gloss, and has (rightly or wrongly) been lauded by many as a ‘British Brokeback Mountain’.
Back in February, Gay Times sat down with lead actor Josh O’Connor to discuss the film’s success, straight actors playing gay, and the ins and outs (don’t) of the films more intimate scenes.
“I’d talk in accent and we’d discuss Johnny from the day he was born. We’d go through where he was born, what was the name of his first friend, his first sexual experience, his first sexual experience with a man, and we went through everything in such detail so we had a memory bank for him.”
The on-screen chemistry between Josh and co-star Alec Secareanu was what made God’s Own Country so beautiful. In order to cultivate the genuine initial nervousness between the two, the pair didn’t rehearse together until they were on set. Once they had met, however, they based their performances upon a foundation of mutual trust.
“When you’ve got two actors that are engaged and willing to listen and are kind to each other and support each other, you can have so much fun and be wild and take risks and so I never felt – and I don’t think Alec ever felt – unsafe. We had to feel vulnerable because there would be moments where I’d do something a bit mental and we’d have to just run with it – and likewise for Alec. We’d do what we thought was right and Francis would guide us that way.”
This also helped when it came to filming the love scenes in the film, which while graphic, truly gave an insight into the internalised battles the characters were waging.
“Amazing to think about how safe it felt. One scene, me and Alec had to meet before we shot, so we choreographed it – it was so detailed. There was a twenty-point plan so it was like, ‘Jonny grabs his crotch, grabs Ghoergie’s shoulder, pushes him down, they roll’. It’s like every single detail was planned.”