Jessie Buckley’s time is now

The Irish actress on her “totally fockin’ exciting” forthcoming role.


… but she is Judy Garland’s assis­tant in October’s Judy (Renée Zell­weger is the ill-fat­ed screen leg­end)… and a women’s lib­ber” dis­rupt­ing the 1970 Miss World in the upcom­ing Mis­be­hav­iour… and a firefighter’s wife in Sky’s immi­nent dis­as­ter-series Cher­nobyl… and a sin­gle-mum jail­bird coun­try singer in the in-cin­e­mas-now Wild Rose.

Play­ing Rose-Lynn in the uplift­ing and reas­sur­ing­ly un-sop­py music dra­ma, she sings, swears, rocks, cries and acts her fake tat­toos off. Find out for your­self at some of the IRL Wild Rose-inspired gigs she’s play­ing this sum­mer. She is, as you can imag­ine, the best run­ner-up in a musi­cal the­atre TV tal­ent show ever (I’d Do Any­thing, BBC, 2008, with Andrew Lloyd Web­ber play­ing Simon Cow­ell), as bril­liant on stage in Shake­speare, as she is in corsets on tel­ly, as she is in punchy indie films (last year’s aston­ish­ing Beast with John­ny Flynn).

She’s also stand­ing on a windy hill in upstate New York, call­ing in – even­tu­al­ly and with some dif­fi­cul­ty – from the set of the lat­est direc­to­r­i­al phan­tas­mago­ria from Oscar-win­ning script writer Char­lie Kauf­man (Being John Malkovich, Eter­nal Sun­shine of the Spot­less Mind).

I’m Think­ing Of End­ing Things is a Net­flix adap­ta­tion of the best­selling hor­ror thriller by Cana­di­an author Iain Reid. She plays a woman who, while on a road trip to see his par­ents on their remote farm, tells her boyfriend (Jesse Ple­mons) that she’s, well, think­ing of end­ing things. With him, not with life. He prompt­ly dumps her out of the car. Wilder­ness-based trau­ma follows. 

She is Jessie Buck­ley, 29, of Kil­lar­ney, Coun­ty Ker­ry, Ire­land, and in 2019 she is SMASH­ING IT. She is, also, as her What­sApp has it, Messy Jessie, and this is what she has to say (breath­less punc­tu­a­tion and strong Irish accent, actress­es’ own):

I fockin’ hate tech­nol­o­gy! I should have been around in old times, when pigeons were writ­ing, or some­thing! How are you? I’m good! Sor­ry for the delay – I was rent­ing a car, and when­ev­er I rent a car and have to dri­ve on the oth­er side of the road, it takes me a moment to fig­ure out where I am. I’m upstate in New York, in New­burgh. I’ve just start­ed on I’m Think­ing Of End­ing Things. A com­e­dy! It’s been fockin’ awe­some, like. It’s one of those sur­re­al sit­u­a­tions where you’re like, Am I actu­al­ly doing it? Is this actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing?’ Because Char­lie Kauf­man is a total ledge. He doesn’t even belong in this world, he’s that much of a ledge! And Jesse Ple­mons is just the loveli­est. It’s just total­ly fockin’ excit­ing!

I play Jesse’s char­ac­ters’ girl­friend in it. We’ve just fin­ished the sec­ond week. What kind of accent do I have in it? Aaaaah… I’m not gonna tell you. It’s its own liv­ing, breath­ing thing, and Charlie’s got his world, so I’m gonna keep my cards close to my chest. But, yeah, my Glas­gow accent in Wild Rose – you think it’s great? Com­ing from a Scot, that’s love­ly to hear, thanks very much. It was prob­a­bly the thing I was most ter­ri­fied about because I just knew the Scots would chase me out with a pitch­fork if I didn’t get it right! And it’s cru­cial to her. It’s her rhythm, it’s her atti­tude, it’s Glas­gow is the nub of what that means with Rose-Lynn. And if I didn’t get that right, I would have done her and the city a disservice.”

The role of Rose-Lynn – and the human­i­ty in the sto­ries of coun­try music – has changed her life. Coun­try music was a gift. I real­ly fell in love with the music, and fell in love with the sto­ries in it. It’s told me lots about lots of things – about act­ing, about the pure hon­esty with­in sto­ries. And doing the gigs! Oh, that’s mad! We played SXSW in Austin, Texas – amaz­ing, I nev­er thought I’d get to do that. I shirk from hav­ing my pho­to­graph tak­en, but to be able to sit down and jam with the musi­cians has just been so fun. I’d kind of, not lost my love for music, but I hadn’t sung for quite a while before I done Wild Rose. So to be able to come back and recon­nect with music has just been awesome.”

Wild Rose, 2019

There are some fes­ti­vals planned this sum­mer too, but don’t wor­ry. I’m not gonna become a pop star or any­thing like that. I’ll stick with the act­ing. I’m not gonna do both, like a female Kris Kristof­fer­son. A load of diverse projects? Oh, I love that! That’s what it’s all about. I don’t want to ever feel like I know what I’m doing. I’m incred­i­bly lucky to get the chance get to work with all these bril­liant peo­ple, and meet all these incred­i­bly dif­fer­ent kinds of women who’ve told me a lot about the world and how to look at it. I like feel­ing the fear of not know­ing, and I like being com­plete­ly out of my depth. And I usu­al­ly am! It makes me dig deep­er. It makes me dig hard­er. And it changes how you look at the world. Every sin­gle char­ac­ter and every sin­gle woman that’s come my way has changed me. Peo­ple say: Oh, how do you shake off a char­ac­ter like that?’ And I don’t want to! I like them. They’ve all affect­ed me. They’ve all changed me.

I love work­ing, and I love film­ing, and I love being on a set, and being part of a crew. For me, this is my fam­i­ly, cause I moved away from Ire­land when I was so young. But it’s impor­tant to step away and switch back. My life out­side of work is very nor­mal. It’s impor­tant to click back into real life. I like cook­ing – I live in a flat in east Lon­don with peo­ple who aren’t actors and we all sit around and have big din­ners and drink wine and have fun times. I cycle around Lon­don. I like swim­ming in the local lido. I like walk­ing along the canal. I like going to my car­a­van down by the sea in Ire­land and see­ing my fam­i­ly. I like going to the cin­e­ma. And I like drink­ing wine. Oh, I men­tioned that…

After I’m Think­ing Of End­ing Of Things, I’m doing noth­ing. I don’t want to do any­thing for a while. I want to hide and sub­merge my head in the sea and go on hol­i­days. And have lots of glass­es of wine. That’s my plan.”

Wild Rose is in cin­e­mas now, the sound­track is avail­able via Island Records/​your pre­ferred stream­ing ser­vice, Cher­nobyl is on SKY/HBO from 6th May, and Jessie is prob­a­bly con­sid­er­ing an after-work rosé

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