Coronavirus restrictions forced Josh O’Connor to rehearse for his forthcoming production of Romeo And Juliet using a pillow instead of co-star Jessie Buckley.
The 30-year-old actor, who played a young Prince of Wales in lavish Netflix drama The Crown, stars opposite the Chernobyl actress, 31, in the National Theatre production, which will air on Sky Arts.
The cast were tested twice a week and only after receiving a negative result were they allowed a three-hour “intimacy window” in which he and Buckley could film close-up scenes together.
Speaking to GQ Hype, he said: “So Jessie and I would be waiting for our test results, find out we’re negative, then ‘Great, we can do the balcony scene! We’re able to kiss!’”
However, rehearsals had to take place separately, which meant O’Connor had to find a stand-in for his co-star.
He said: “We had pillows. Let me tell you, it was hard going from one of the greatest actors of my generation to acting opposite a pillow.”
The duo were originally due to take on the roles for a stage version in the Olivier auditorium over the summer, directed by Simon Godwin.
O’Connor also told GQ Hype he had not watched the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s headline-making interview with Oprah Winfrey.
He said: “I definitely didn’t. But everyone else did! I feel so… Actually I don’t feel that bad about it, to be honest. My feeling on it is as it was before I did The Crown.
“I think I find it really hard pinning the real royal family to The Crown. They feel so far removed.
“And basically I had no interest in the royal family before I did The Crown. And I have very little interest now.”
– Read the full feature online at GQ Hype.