Watch: Jack O'Connell reveals all about naked rain dance in Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Jack O’Connell says his naked rain dance with Emma Corrin in Netflix's new adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover was far from glamourous.
Corrin plays the Lady Chatterley of the title, while O’Connell is her gamekeeper, Mellors, in this new interpretation of the D.H. Lawrence novel about their passionate love affair. As their relationship intensifies in the film, one of their most intimate moments is when they dance naked in the forest while the rain pours down.
Talking to Yahoo UK, O’Connell described filming the sequence in the open air, explaining that the water itself was: “Cold, tepid. They can’t warm it up, because you’d see the steam. It’s cruel,” he said.
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And added, laughing coyly: “It comes with its own range of problems!”
He also described how an entire day was given over to shooting the scene. “That was scheduled, and also an act of courtesy to us so that we didn’t feel rushed, and felt that we had the time to knuckle down and get it right.”
The film’s director, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, described how they’d hoped for real rain. “It was a very sunny day, and we were all waiting for rain, but it never came. It was very challenging for the actors, because they had to do it in one day.
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"To help them, we had loud percussive music to get them in the mood so that they felt liberated. It was very liberating for all of us and we wished we could all get undressed and run with them – it felt so joyful and ecstatic.”
She also recalled how Corrin, seen earlier this year in My Policeman, was excited about the sequence. “When Emma came on board, she said ‘It’s going to be the craziest scene I’ve ever done in my life and I want to do it. I want to experience it.’”
One of the most scandalous novels in British literature, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was first published privately in 1928. Connie (Corrin) marries into the aristocracy but her relationship with husband Clifford (Matthew Duckett) changes when he’s confined to a wheelchair after an injury during WWI. She falls in love with the estate’s gamekeeper, Mellors (O’Connell), who gives her a sexual and emotional fulfilment she’s never experienced before.
The novel’s frank description of sex and its earthy language meant it was banned in the UK for some year. This earned it such a notoriety that, when it was first published in this country in 1960, its initial print run of 200,000 copies sold out within a day. Its publishers, Penguin Books, were prosecuted for obscenity in a landmark trial, and were found not guilty.
De Clermont-Tonnerre believes that the novel’s theme of sexual liberation is just as relevant to audiences today as it was when Lawrence wrote it. It shows that “sexuality is pure and beautiful and it was glorified by D H Lawrence. It’s not shameful or dirty. It was banned because it was trying to address the freedom of sexuality and that was regarded as obscene.
"I think that today we’re still facing a lot of challenges regarding a woman’s freedom and the idea here is about a woman taking ownership of her own body. That’s extremely important and timely.”
Alongside O’Connell, Corrin and Duckett, the film also stars Joely Richardson, who returns to the story after a gap of nearly 30 years. Playing housekeeper Mrs Bolton in this version, she played the title role in the TV mini series Lady Chatterley in 1993. De Clermont-Tonnerre’s directing credits include The Mustang (2019), starring Matthias Schoenaerts, and TV series American Crime Story (2021).
Lady Chatterley’s Lover is released on Netflix on 2 December, 2022.