Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley on playing Romeo and Juliet in their 30s

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Josh O’Connor has addressed the casting of himself and Jessie Buckley in a new production of Romeo And Juliet.

The Crown star, 30, and the Chernobyl actress, 31, star in the National Theatre production, which will air on Sky Arts.

The play was filmed inside the National Theatre’s Lyttelton theatre for television and the stage spaces were temporarily transformed into a film studio for the first time.

Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor (Hill & Aubrey/British Vogue)
Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor (Hill & Aubrey/British Vogue)

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.

In Shakespeare’s play, Juliet is described as “not yet fourteen”, and Romeo is also thought to be a teenager.

However, O’Connor told British Vogue: “I suppose the reason you’d cite for having young actors play those parts, and the reason they’re young in the play, is because it’s an accessible answer to the naivety of love.

“But I think it’s more interesting to imagine their love isn’t naive, that they’ve been in love before, so what is it about this love that makes it so intense?”

Buckley added: “I’ve never bothered myself about the age thing.

“It doesn’t feel important to me. Every time you fall in love, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.”

O’Connor said the filmed play “definitely feels different to anything I’ve ever done”, adding: “There’s lots about this experience that I feel the film world would benefit from.

“That’s the most exciting thing. I genuinely believe that if more time and money was spent on rehearsal for film, the shoots would be far less painful and the films would be better.”

Vogue’s front cover (Craig McDean/British Vogue)
Vogue’s front cover (Craig McDean/British Vogue)

The British Vogue March Global Creativity issue is available via digital download and on newsstands now.

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