‘The Rest Is Magic’: Joe Alwyn Breaks Down Getting Licked By Jesse Plemons In Their Wild Kinds Of Kindness Scene

 Joe Alwyn sitting in a car, smiling and looking behind him.
Credit: Searchlight

Spoilers for Kinds of Kindness are ahead! If you haven’t seen Yorgos Lanthimos’ entry on the 2024 movie schedule, you can catch it in theaters now.

Read More Of Our Kinds Of Kindness Coverage

Margaret Qualley, Jesse Plemons and Willem Dafoe in KINDS OF KINDNESS sitting together and hugging.
Margaret Qualley, Jesse Plemons and Willem Dafoe in KINDS OF KINDNESS sitting together and hugging.

Who Is R.M.F. In Kinds Of Kindness? Willem Dafoe and Jesse Plemons Try To Explain, But It Only Makes Me More Confused

When critics reacted to Kinds of Kindness, a lot of them noted the dark humor and extreme scenes in the movie. As is expected with any Yorgos Lanthimos film, this project is bonkers, ambiguous and visceral, and one scene that really made that notion clear was when Joe Alwyn’s character got shot in the hand and licked by Jesse Plemons' character. When I had the chance to chat with Alwyn about the movie, I had to ask about this shocking scene, and he broke it down for us.

For some context, during the second part of Kinds of Kindness called "R.M.F. is Flying" – which is a triptych – Jesse Plemons plays a police officer named Daniel who gets increasingly more paranoid as he starts to suspect that his wife is not really his wife. At one point, he pulls over a couple, and Joe Alwyn plays Jerry, one of the two people in the car. During this intense moment, tension rises super high, and it leads to Daniel shooting Jerry in the hand. Then, out of nowhere, he licks the bloody hand.

It’s a wild scene, and when I interviewed Alwyn and his castmates about Kinds of Kindness, and I had to ask about it. Here’s what he said:

It was a joy, a long one to happen. Yeah, it was pretty fun. It's not every day you get shot in the hand and then licked by Jesse Plemons. But it was great.

It was great, and part of the reason why was because of how bloody and extreme it got. The Conversations with Friends star went on to tell me how they rigged up his hand and shot the scene, explaining:

You have, you know, in technical terms, you have a, I guess a rig of a tube that runs up your body and down your arm. And I think they did actually make a prosthetic arm for me. I remember going in for tests for that. But it wasn't used in the end. And the tube gets kind of somehow disguised on your hand. And then, you know, he pulls the trigger. Someone steps on the pump. And the rest is magic.

He was also sitting next to his co-star Mamoudou Athie during this interview, who noted that “Jesse’s so strong,” and during the scene, he “couldn’t move him” off of Alwyn.

As you’ve likely deduced if you’ve seen the Kinds of Kindness trailer, and you know if you’ve seen the movie, this project is full of jaw-dropping moments. This was the one that caught me the most off guard because the last thing I expected after all that intensity was for Alwyn to get licked by Plemons.

This made me question whether the moment was scripted or improvised on the day. Joe Alwyn made it very clear that it was in the script the whole time, and he was always meant to be shot and then licked, as he said:

That was definitely scripted. I should say that wasn’t scripted. You know, that wasn’t scripted. That took me by surprise, and I’m still getting over it.

Our review of Kinds of Kindness gave the movie 4.5 out of 5 stars, and it’s partially because it’s “shocking, hilarious” and “upsetting” all at the same time. This moment between Joe Alwyn and Jesse Plemons is a prime example of all of that.

You truly never know what to expect from a Yorgos Lanthimos movie, and that’s why I love them. While this scene in question was intense and uncomfortable, it was also unexpected and jaw-dropping in the best way.

To see this moment – and all the other wild scenes in this film – you can catch Kinds of Kindness in theaters now.