Jack Reynor was sold on signing to star in director Ari Aster’s newest feature, “Midsommar,” after learning one key thing about his role: that he’d be doing full frontal nudity.
Aster’s critically acclaimed 2018 horror film “Hereditary” hadn’t come yet when Reynor was cast for the director’s followup. “Hereditary’s” story of the terrifying secrets of a family’s ancestry following a tragedy matched by its box office success — grossing 79.3 million worldwide on its roughly $10 million production budget — brought Aster to the attention of many in Hollywood.
“Midsommar,” again, takes a deeply emotional story of a couple in a relationship on the brink of collapsing, and surrounds it in horrifying hysteria.
Reynor stopped by TheWrap studios ahead of the film’s release July 3 and shared his admiration of the filmmaker, calling his short films “genius-level filmmaking.”
“He is a unique director and writer. The stuff that happens in this movie is not stuff you see in contemporary cinema. This feels like something from the ’70s, it’s so insane,” Reynor said. “I was looking at [‘Midsommar’] as an opportunity to do challenging things that I otherwise might not be able to do in my career, unless maybe I got into porn.”
Reynor plays Christian, who, after his girlfriend Dani (Florence Pugh) suffers a family tragedy, decides against ending their relationship and instead brings her along on trip to a remote Swedish village. The festivities of the summer solstice celebration and the horrors that follow — all of which take place in broad day light — tests Christian and Dani’s fragile relationship, leading Reynor’s character to make some questionable decisions that thrust him into terrifyingly vulnerable situations.
Reynor said that audiences should be wary headed into the film, and should “be prepared to be unprepared.”
There’s a sequence in the film that requires Reynor to go completely nude and bare it all, and the actor said he advocated for as much full frontal nudity for his character as possible — a sort of small step toward evening the balance of on-screen nudity.
“There are so many films in the history of cinema, particularly in the horror genre — I watch a lot of this stuff, and I notice there’s a pervasive culture of really difficult and humiliating and expositional scenes of murder and sexual violence towards women and you don’t really see that kind of stuff in films where it happens to men,” Reynor said.
“Obviously this doesn’t compare to the kind of stuff that happens, like for instance in ‘The Last House on the Left’… but I think it’s an interesting kind of flipping on its head of this is a male character suffering through a very kind of humiliating sequence of his fate,” Reynor continued.
“And it’s very expositional… and that’s why I wanted to make sure there was as much full frontal as we could go for.”