One of the many films to play at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was Benediction. Written and directed by Terence Davies, the film explores the turbulent life of the legendary war poet and anti-war activist Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden). Sassoon was a decorated British officer and poet in the first World War but became a vocal critic of the war when he returned from service. Adored by members of the upper class, as well as stars of London’s literary and stage world, he was involved with several men as he attempted to come to terms with his homosexuality. At the same time, due to his experiences with war, he made his life’s journey a quest for salvation, trying to find it within the conformity of marriage and religion. Benediction also stars Peter Capaldi, Gemma Jones, Ben Daniels, Kate Phillips, Simon Russell Beale, Jeremy Irvine, and Geraldine James.
Shortly after seeing the film, I spoke with Jack Lowden and Terence Davies. They talked about bringing Siegfried Sassoon’s story to the screen, what it was like being gay in England a hundred years ago, where the idea came from to mix in old footage, the way Siegfried understood his own hypocrisy, what it’s really like being an actor and director, and more. In addition, Davies revealed his reasons for wanting to adapt Stefan Zweig’s The Post Office Girl as a movie.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.
Jack Lowden and Terence Davies
- If Terence could get the financing for anything what would he make and why?
- How he wants to make an adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s The Post Office Girl.
- What would surprise people to lean about being a director and an actor?
- Jack on what it’s really like being an actor.
- How have they been describing Benediction to people?
- How did Lowden get ready for the role and has his process changed at all now that he’s worked on a lot more films?
- What it was like being gay in England 100 years ago and if you were in the upper class you could get away with more.
- Where did the idea come from to mix in old footage into the movie?
- How Siegfried was always looking for redemption.
- On the way Siegfried understood his own hypocrisy.
Gyllenhaal plays a 911 operator in a film that takes place over the course of one evening.
About The Author