Filmmaker Terrence Davies chose Jack Lowden to play World War One poet Siegfried Sassoon in his TIFF biopic “Benediction” and says the actor’s transformation into the soldier and poet was “an absolute joy to witness.”

“Jack was absolutely wonderful in the role,” Davies tells ET Canada. While Lowden explains how he worked hard to “be true to him [Sassoon], and that’s what Terrence crafted in the script.”

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In the film, Davies touches on Sassoon’s sexuality and how he was part of the LGBTQ+ community during World War I.

“You can’t forget he was upper class and those people were very privileged and gay people used that privilege to protect them,” explains Davies. “[I’m] not saying it’s any easier, but if you were low or middle class and you were found out to be gay you would go to prison back then. It was a criminal offense in the UK until 1967.”

The “Mary Queen of Scots” star adds, “If you go off a lot of his [Sassoon’s] writings, it [his sexuality] doesn’t seem to play as much of a part as I think we would love it to have.”

Lowden continues, that while the poet’s sexuality “was part of him… it wasn’t his defining thing. What defines him in the film more so is his regret and longing to be something and to have accomplished something. A lot of universal things that a lot of people can relate to in different forms. That was definitely my way into playing the character, was the regret more than anything.”

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Meanwhile, Davies explains that filming during COVID presented its own challenges, with the problem at first being financial. “Three days after shooting we were told it was cancelled and then got cleared to shoot the film in September 2020,” says Davies. “We did testing at the beginning of each week and it added 35,000-pounds to the budget. A lot of small things [other projects] died because they couldn’t get that extra money.”

Amazingly, the director says they were blessed on set and “never had one single case of COVID at all in the production throughout the six weeks.”

Lowden says it’s a very different experience as an actor filming during COVID, “but a very easy experience compared to what everyone else has had to go through in other professions.”

The “Small Axe” star explains how the “film industry can adapt to it, and it’s been very good at adapting to it.” Adding, “Film crews are like little armies so they can adapt very quickly… We were one of the lucky ones, and it was early on in the pandemic when masks and testing were new.”

Davies talks about how production went off without a hitch, even with some unusual warnings about potential interruptions on the set. “We filmed for a couple of weeks at this wonderful property and there was a sign that said, ‘If you have any issues with sheep, phone the following number.'” To which Lowden laughed loudly during the interview, adding, “The sheep were too compliant, far too compliant.” Jokingly adding, “Just one unruly sheep, that’s really all you want.”