“What I love about filmmaking is that, for a moment of magic, it relies on every single member in that team. I want to be involved in that common dialogue,” says Jessie Buckley, who grew up in Ireland as the oldest of five children. Until this year, much of her career has focused on the theatre. But with two prestige TV series and two buzz-heavy features in the can, the screen is ready to claim her.
An early start in musical theatre led to Rada and then roles in BBC series War & Peace and Taboo. She has recently starred in two further TV series: The Last Post, a 1960s-set drama based in the Yemen written by Peter Moffat for the BBC, and The Woman In White for Origin Pictures.
Buckley’s first feature role is the lead in Michael Pearce’s Beast, as a woman living on the island of Jersey who is still being punished for a crime committed years earlier. “I read 20 pages and thought, ‘I have to do this,’” Buckley says. “I fought tooth and nail to do it. I could just see her.”
She expresses a similar passion for Rose-Lynn, the character she plays in Tom Harper’s Glasgow-set Country Music. Rose-Lynn is a mother of two who, following her release from prison, has a dream to go to Nashville and become a country singer. “It’s not a musical,” Buckley emphasises. “It’s Ken Loach meets a western with music. There’s nothing heightened about it, not even with the music. The music is another limb for this character.”
The seam that runs through Buckley’s roles is one of a woman searching for a way of living and surviving in a hostile society that has its own ideas of how she should act and behave.
“I’m interested in telling stories about people with vulnerabilities who find their own strength,” Buckley explains. “They are not people with beautiful hair or perfect teeth, but [those who] have wounds from life. I want to play real people and tell real stories to audiences.”
Contact: Julia Charteris, United Artists