×

Why Jack Reynor Gets Fully Naked in Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’

Midsommar” isn’t your typical summer thriller.

“It’s a horror movie, among other things” says Jack Reynor, who stars in “Hereditary” director Ari Aster’s sophomore feature. “Midsommar” follows a group of friends who travel from New York City to the Swedish countryside for a once-in-every-90-years celebration that involves drugs, sex and ritual killings.

Reynor plays Christian, a PhD student who is on the verge of breaking up with his girlfriend (played by Florence Pugh). After she experiences a horrifying loss, he reluctantly invites her on the excursion to Sweden. “It’s a breakup movie. It’s a folk horror movie,” Reynor says. “There’s a lot going on it.”

There certainly is.

The 27-year-old actor sat down in New York City for this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast. [WARNING: This conversation includes a few spoilers because “Midsommar” is not the kind of film you can discuss without revealing key details.]

“Midsommar” is very bright — literally,” Reynor describes of the folk horror film. “Sun-filled fields of grass are punctuated by villagers dressed in all-white flowing hippie attire with flower details. All the terror in the film happens in broad daylight. That’s a testament to the skill of the filmmaker to be able to find that depth of darkness in blistering sunlight.”

He hadn’t seen “Hereditary” when he signed on for the movie, but after reading Aster’s “Midsommar” script, Reynor said, “This is something that isn’t really getting made.”

He continued, “This is an opportunity to do something that’s unique. None of the camera direction or any of that was written into the script so when [Ari] spoke to me about it in person, I understood what his vision was for, how he was going to execute it visually, there was no way that I could’ve said no to doing it.”

And then there’s Reynor’s full frontal sex scene. “I was advocating for as much full frontal as possible,” he said. “I felt like it was really important. When I read the script, I saw an opportunity to take a character who exhibits a lot of archetypal male characteristics — like male toxicity — who has all of the stuff stripped away from him through the course of the film and then ultimately finds himself in this situation which is kind of the ultimate humiliation…It was always intentional to have the full frontal. That was what Ari wanted to do. But I was really saying, ‘We got to do as much of this as possible.’”

Said scene isn’t a sexy bedroom romp. Instead it’s a twisted mating ritual between Reynor and one of the villagers that includes a chorus of naked women of all shapes, sizes and ages cheering them on, including an elder who helps Reynor along by grabbing and pushing on his bare buttocks. Reynor’s bewildered looks when he realizes what is happening while continuing to partake makes the scenario even weirder.

“It’s interesting to see it with an audience because particularly when that kind of facial expression emerges, half of the audience will burst into laughter. Like a nervous laughter, but laughter nonetheless,” Reynor said. “And half of them turn around and they’re looking at people like, ‘What the f— are these people laughing about?’”

Next up for Reynor, who was born in the U.S. but raised in Ireland, is the premiere of his writing and directorial debut, “Bainne” a ghost story short that takes places in the 19th century during Ireland’s Great Famine.

“I’m really proud of it,” Reynor said. “It was my first opportunity to really get behind the camera and to design my own shot list, to think about the composition of a frame and everything that I could use within it to say something.”

Reynor definitely has things to say about filmmaking. So much so that he started an Instagram page, @jrcinemania, in April dedicated to the art. “As a bit of an experiment I’m going to be putting up posts here once or twice a week and writing a little about films as I see them and also about some of my personal favourites,” he wrote in his first post. “The idea is to get a conversation going with fans of cinema and hopefully in the not too distant future I’ll begin to do some podcasts featuring interviews with people in the industry. All questions and comments relative to cinema are welcome!”

Let the “Midsommar” questions and comments begin.

Listen to the full interview “Big Ticket” interview with Reynor below. “The Big Ticket” can be found at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

More Film

  • 'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in

    'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in Hospital After Stabbing

    Hugely popular Hong Kong actor, Simon Yam was stabbed while on stage Saturday at a presentation in Zhongshan, Guangdong province in southern China. He is in hospital recovering. The incident happened at the opening of a branch of the Beijing Easyhome building materials company, where Yam was a guest. A man was seen rushing on [...]

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • TSOM-MASK

    Director Sara Gouveia on ‘Looking At Resilience Through Art’

    DURBAN–The Mapiko dance of Mozambique’s indigenous Makonde people was long used as a tool for social commentary. But during the colonial era it became an act of political resistance, prompting the Portuguese to stamp it out during Mozambique’s 10-year war for independence. Decades later, the art has been revived as a celebration of freedom. For [...]

  • Don Edkins

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

  • A Faithful Man

    Film Review: 'A Faithful Man'

    French actor Louis Garrel has been married twice, first to Iranian talent Golshifteh Farahani, and now to model-cum-actress Laetitia Casta. He has also directed two features, the first a free-wheeling love-triangle comedy called “Two Friends” in which Garrel plays the cad who comes between his best friend and the object of his obsession (played by [...]

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Russ Tamblyn's Career Had Legs After Childhood

    With an acting career that spans work for Cecil B. DeMille and Joseph Losey to Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, Russ Tamblyn’s creativity and longevity is proof that there’s life after child stardom. In Tamblyn’s case, there’s also been a bounty of juicy film and TV roles long after his legendary legs no longer kicked [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content