Next for ‘The Lost Daughter’ Jessie Buckley: More Movies and Music
Actress Jessie Buckley is a natural brunette, but her hair is currently cut in a ragged black bob and her nails are painted the same emerald green that writer Christopher Isherwood gave to glamorous singer-in-denial Sally Bowles. in his 1937 short story The Same Name. “Different hair for every job,” Buckley says, typically wryly in a video call from London. “People think you’re very transformative.” She would later take the stage in “Cabaret,” the musical adaptation of Isherwood’s story of Weimar-era fate, at the Playhouse Theater’s Kit Kat Club, alongside Eddie Redmayne. And in a few weeks, she’ll be flying to Los Angeles for the 94th Academy Awards: her performance in ‘The Lost Daughter’ earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination. His brother had told him the news by text message the day before. “I thought he was joking,” she said. “It’s just something that doesn’t happen in life.”
Buckley, 32, has won praise for his deft portrayals of maddening and messy characters, but his own career trajectory has been disciplined, even conventional: drama school (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) to theater (Shakespeare’s Globe ), theater in indies, indies in Hollywood. She was born in County Kerry in Ireland and seems to fulfill some sort of Yeatsian fantasy of the Western woman who is gifted with song. Raised in an artistic family with four younger siblings – her mother is a musician and teacher, and her father a poet and bar manager – she moved to London as a teenager, where she finished second in a television series called “I’d Do Anything.” YouTube videos show her delivering a song from “Oliver!” with the same mix of power and vulnerability that she would bring to later roles.
It was Buckley’s voice, after all, that stunned audiences in 2018’s “Wild Rose,” a film in which she plays a budding country star. This summer, she and Bernard Butler – a veteran musician, songwriter and producer – are set to release a 12-track album titled “For All Our Days That Tear the Heart” on UK label EMI. “I feel a little shy about it,” she said. “It was a really pure, beautiful, untouched and a bit secretive thing.” For the past two summers, she and Butler met weekly to drink tea in her kitchen and discuss lines of poetry, among other things. At the end of the day, they would record everything they did on an iPhone, just a take or two, “and then we’d say goodbye,” Butler says. The finished album conveys the intimacy of two friends who find private meaning through creativity.
In the fall, Buckley will travel to Spain to film Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s “Hot Milk.” This year will also see the release of Sarah Polley’s ‘Women Talking’ – starring Buckley, Rooney Mara and Frances McDormand as members of a remote religious community troubled by sexual violence – and Alex Garland’s ‘Men’, in which Buckley portrays a lonely widow on vacation.
Before that, but after the Oscars, Buckley plans to elope in his 500-year-old home in rural England. Maybe she’ll cook – nothing “sourdough fancy”, just her dad’s recipe for brown bread. “I’m like Houdini,” she says. “I will disappear, take time and make my life. I can not wait.
Hair: Marc Francome Painter. Makeup: Florrie White at Bryant Artists. Photo assistant: Yoan Zdravkov