Josh O’Connor has revealed that he was hospitalised during filming for God’s Own Country.

In a recent interview with The Guardianthe British actor reflected on his breakout role, which was released in 2017.

Directed by Francis Lee, the romantic drama tells the story of sheep farmer Johnny (O’Connor), whose life changes with the arrival of Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu), a Romanian migrant who is hired as extra help for the lambing season.

Partly based on the experiences of Lee (in his feature directorial debut), God’s Own Country was one of the decade’s most praised films, with critics highlighting the performances of O’Connor and Secăreanu and its depiction of loneliness and intimacy.

O’Connor told The Guardian that he lost “more than 10 kilos (22lb) in weight” for the role and ended up in hospital “for a week on a drip”, which he said was the “closest” he’ll get to method acting.

“And I got very sick, which maybe highlights that. That film will always be very close to my heart and Francis is a huge inspiration. Still now. But it took a lot out of me,” he explained.

“And it took me a few years to realise the impact that had had on my mental health and how I was working. And to realise I wouldn’t be able to maintain that level of in-depth living and working long-term – it just wouldn’t work.”

As a result of the physical transformation, O’Connor recalled that he “basically shut down” throughout the production: “It was the beginning of my career, so it was easier to shut down to a point, and it wasn’t such a long shoot.”

If he applied “that same method” to his recent films La Chimera (2023) and Challengers (2024), O’Connor believes that he wouldn’t have “seen or spoken to my family and friends for a year, which would have been insane”.

“And so, just from my mental health point of view, it’s not sustainable,” he added. “I’d be devastated.”

Recently, O’Connor has received universal critical acclaim for his performance in Challengers, also starring Zendaya and Mike Faist.

The sports dramedy, directed by Call Me By Your Names Luca Guadagnino, follows the tumultuous (and extremely erotic) relationship between two tennis player best friends (O’Connor and Faist) and a tennis prodigy (Zendaya).

He is also set to star in Oliver Hermanus‘ upcoming queer drama The History of Soundalongside All of Us Strangers star Paul Mescal.

The film is based on the Pushcart Prize-winning novel from Ben Shattuck, a collection of 12 short stories that are set across three centuries and explores generational patterns of love and loss.

The title story follows two young men in the shadows of WWI who are determined to record the lives, voices and music of their American countrymen. Lionel (Mescal) and David (O’Connor) begin to log the events, whilst falling in love in the process. Visit here for everything we know so far.