'Australian director Benedict Andrews attempts to break the pharaoh-o-meter by parading his male star, young and willing Jack O’Connell (increasingly a Hollywood contender) in the altogether for an inordinate amount of gasp-inducing time... Lights up: water from a freestanding shower cascades down on the 26-year-old O’Connell’s hunched, tattoo’d form (sitting on a raked charcoal-grey carpet) drenching every visible inch, so to speak, aside from a plaster-cast right foot.'
Since first seeing the 1958 film version of Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, I try to check it out, or at least record it, each time it airs on TMC. I fell in love with the film, the dialogue and the incredible performances the first time I saw it just a few years ago. My first viewing in 2013 inspired a FH post about the film, Paul Newman, and the many actors I researched who took on the role of Brick on stage. (A Ton of Bricks)
After watching it again last weekend, I again headed to google to see if any other actors that I knew had taken on the role since my first piece. I was rewarded. The intensely hot actor Jack O'Connell, who I knew mostly from his time on the series Skins, took the stage last year with Sienna Miller in a London production. From all accounts, both actors sizzled, with director Benedict Andrews making the artistic choice to start and end Act one with his Brick (O'Connell) completely naked on stage.
The show begins with Brick sitting on stage under a shower. He stands up, and takes a good minute or two before putting on a towel, a towel which remains his only wardrobe, except again for that leg cast, for the remainder of Act One. The towel comes off at the end of the act when Brick steps into the shower for another shower. ElleUK described Jack's performance as startling, especially moving as the failed athlete's forced masculinity gives way to stifling sadness and repressed homosexuality. 'The transition from an alcohol-induced numbness to a climactic display of vitriol is deeply moving; Jack takes on Brick's sadness with astonishing conviction'
Brick may be the first time O'Connell took it all off on stage, but had some brief nudity on Skins, and showed it all in the 2013 prison drama, Starred Up. (Below) Jack talked about his on stage nudity in an interview last year with Variety.
Did you know you’d have to shower onstage?
In the writing, the shower is offstage. Brick’s first few lines of dialogue would traditionally be offstage. Look, it was a bit of a curve ball. You have to try to get your head around it. I just went with it. I was given the option to wear swimwear, to keep my modesty intact. That’s the easy way out. You think, “When does anyone really shower with underwear on?” I find that more distracting.
Were you nervous?
Not really. I guess I was nervous when I started going nude in rehearsals. I thought: we’re getting close to previews, I might as well start realizing what this is, or how this feels, while I was naked. So yeah, the clothes came off in the rehearsal room. I was grateful for that. By the time the previews were happening, a lot of people in the production had seen what it is like to start the play naked. Variety
Although Jack's turn on stage as Brick ended late last year, the production was filmed for National Theatre Live and is hitting theatres in February. I am not sure how much of Jack will be shown in the film version of the play but check out more at NT Live HERE: and see if it's playing near you HERE:
FH started off 2018 featuring the work of The Richard from Third Eye and his work with Donovan. (A Stroke of Fortune) While working on the piece, I was drawn to some images in Donovan's portfolio from rmark_photography, images that appeared to have been taken in same studio and space that Richard utilizes. When I asked Richard about the images, he shared that Roger (rmark) had been in Ohio over the holidays and had photographed Donovan along with him during the shoot.
Richard enthusiastically encouraged me to get in touch with Roger calling him a tremendous artist and teacher and one who manages to find many interesting models to work with. I immediately headed to Roger's ModelMayhem page and although there were many incredible shots and models, I was drawn to one image in particular. The image, the last one in this piece, was of Jack, sitting and looking out the window. I loved the pose and feel of the shot and the light from the window streaming in over Jack's body and skin.
Roger describes his process as methodical and deliberate, and Jack's as more energetic and spontaneous. Roger describes the first few images that they created as just 'ok'. It took a few shots, and a few minutes to blend their two different working styles, but once they achieved a rhythm, Jack became more animated with his posing more natural and playful. Originally Jack had wanted Roger to shoot him cutting the grass, but Roger wanted to go a bit beyond just the mowing and added some digging and gardening and some other yard work into the mix. Inevitably when gardening, the plants will also need to be watered... cue the hose.
'After taking the photographs of Jack mowing the lawn in his jock, I asked him to hold his hand out as he would if it felt like it was going to rain. This was my favorite photograph of him with the mower. Jack then mentioned the idea of using the water-hose to wash off and I suggested a spot in his yard that would show that off with the light at that hour.'
There is nothing better after mowing the lawn than a tall cold beer so after shooting on the back lawn, Roger and Jack headed to the porch to capture the shot above. Roger arranged things on the porch including the placement of his shoes and pants to create the feeling that they were spontaneously removed to cool down Jack's sweaty body after all of his hard work. At the point in the day, Roger noticed the light from the window was becoming soft and quiet and suggested they move inside to capture this fleeting moment of light. Roger says their initially opposing work styles led to a dynamic collaboration resulting in fun and playful shots in the backyard, and the sensuous shot by the bedroom window representing the best of both Jack's work as a model, and his as a photographer.