Rory Kinnear: It was clothes off, start wrestling!

Rory Kinnear: It was clothes off, start wrestling!
Rory Kinnear: It was clothes off, start wrestling! (Image credit: Company Pictures)

Rory Kinnear reveals more about the BBC's new racy drama Women in Love... Tell us about Rupert, the character you play in Women in Love? "Rupert is a lot less sympathetic in this adaptation, which enlivens various sections of both DH Lawrence books, The Rainbow, and its sequel, Women In Love. He's an intellectual snob and conflicted emotionally and sexually. There's pain and pathos with his sexual discoveries, through to his deep obsession and friendship with Gerald (Joseph Mawle), and he finally accepts what he can do and what society will let him do. He also finds he can have a relationship with a woman as long as it's not based on lust, but is functional. It's an issue of its time, but has relevance today." How was it shooting the 1969 film's famous nude wrestling scene? "I hadn't seen the wrestling match between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates but Joseph Mawle and I just got straight into it. We had some wrestling rehearsals with this 7ft tall stunt director, who didn't know we'd be naked! He was like 'What???' So we had to re-think the choreography slightly. After that it was very much clothes off, start wrestling! We had an hour and a half to do it all, the sun was going down, it was getting freezing, and we were fighting in the cold Atlantic sea. Pride was definitely going to be left on the shore!" Did either of you get hurt at all? "No, we were so cold that you couldn't feel it! That's what we worried about the most, that because it was so cold our muscles would seize up! We had some very kind people who dunked us in hot water after and put coats around us to warm us up again!" Did you have any reservations about the nudity in Women In Love and filming the love scenes? "Well, it's entirely what the book and drama is about; people's acceptance and attitudes, and people struggling with their own notions of sexuality. It's about how humans interlock, so you can't be prudish about it." The war affects your character quite deeply, is that right? "We see them in the war. The opening of second episode is Rupert and Gerald in the trenches together and they change after that, for Rupert is looking for love." Congratulations on becoming a new father! How have the first few months of fatherhood been? "It's certainly been a busy and lovely time with the baby. He's only five weeks old and I can see him smiling and laughing already. Sleeping is as normal as you can expect, three hours at a time! I'm still doing Hamlet on stage and had a week off and, to tell you the truth, it was exhausting - four hours of Shakespeare was a doddle in comparison! Our son was born on the Tuesday morning and I did a show that evening after my partner Brenda had been in labour 30 hours, so I hadn't had much sleep. If I can do that I can do anything! I got a big clap that night when someone in the cast told the audience!" Women In Love starts on Thursday March 24 at 9pm on BBC4.

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.