The Royal Hotel director Kitty Green on threat of male violence: ‘Unfortunately, it’s just universal’

The film will be released in cinemas on 3 November

Watch: The Royal Hotel writer-director Kitty Green talks to Yahoo about the film's themes

Australian director Kitty Green is quickly building a reputation for her impressive filmmaking around gender dynamics and male power, following the acclaim for her 2019 film The Assistant.

Her latest film, The Royal Hotel (in cinemas 2 November), is no different as two American backpackers tend bar in the Australian outback while dealing with the bombardment of microaggressions and sexual advances from the exclusively male mining community.

Read more: How Kitty Green took on Weinstein – then a mining town in the Outback (The Guardian, 6-min read)

With high-profile figures like Andrew Tate in the news, it could be argued that there is a timeliness to a movie like The Royal Hotel.

Talking to Yahoo, Green refutes this, explaining: “Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s just today. It’s a behaviour that’s been going on for forever, essentially.

“It’s funny because people have been very quick to label it as Australian, a particularly Australian thing... but I think it’s a behaviour where anything that happens in that pub in the film, could happen in any pub or bar anywhere in the world.

Kitty Green giving direction to Jessica Henwick on the set of The Royal Hotel. (Universal Pictures)
Kitty Green giving direction to Jessica Henwick on the set of The Royal Hotel. (Universal Pictures)

“All people can have that streak, and if everything’s getting a little shaky... it can always escalate. Unfortunately, it just universal.

"But hopefully it’s not timeless, and hopefully we can find a way to stand up to these people.”

Green elaborated on where these films come from: “I’m not trying to go into it with an agenda. I’m just a woman in the world.

“It’s about my own fears and my own worries, and it naturally ends up becoming something that people try to label as that, but I’m trying to make sense of it myself.

“But it comes from the gut... finding this interesting about our culture or that interesting, and then you build a screenplay about that.”

Watch a trailer for The Royal Hotel

The Royal Hotel sees the director team up once more with Julia Garner following their pairing in Green’s 2019 film, The Assistant.

Garner brings a degree of cynicism to her character, Hanna, pairing up well with her co-lead Jessica Henwick, who’s portrayal of Liv cuts a much more carefree figure.

When asked about her relationship with Julia Garner, the director was effusive in praise for her muse, saying, “Immediately when we met it clicked and it worked.

“We just don’t have to communicate that much at this point. We work together so much, and for so long at this point, that it just feels very natural.”

Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick in The Royal Hotel. (Universal Pictures)
Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick in The Royal Hotel. (Universal Pictures)

Green recalls approaching Garner with notes about certain scenes, but Garner having already come to the same conclusions.

“It’s one of those rare things where it just works, and it’s something to hold on to.”

The Royal Hotel isn’t solely focused on the trials of its female leads however, spending plenty of time fleshing out and humanising the male bar patrons who are the source of so much conflict.

There’s a variety at play within those male roles, each displaying different traits that any woman will recognise.

Filmmaker Kitty Green poses for the camera in a dark suit jacket at the San Sebastian film festival in Spain.
Kitty Green is the writer and director of The Royal Hotel. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images) (Juan Naharro Gimenez via Getty Images)

From Teeth (James Frecheville), a clumsily sweet miner with an obsessive streak, to Matty (Toby Wallace), the roguishly charming figure, rounding out with Daniel Henshall’s Dolly, an outwardly predatory and aggressive man who views Hannah and Liv as glorified pieces of meat.

Discussing how she crafted the male characters, Green said: “I was looking to humanise this big group of men.

“All of them are wanting to connect with these women, but all of them are failing in different ways.

Toby Wallace and Hugo Weaving in The Royal Hotel. (Universal Pictures)
Toby Wallace and Hugo Weaving in The Royal Hotel. (Universal Pictures)

“Whether it’s their aggression that gets the better off them, the alcohol gets the better of them, or they’re just young and naïve.

“It was very easy to work out who they were, but the actors brought us all up a level, and brought a warmth and a love for these broken men.”

The Royal Hotel is in cinemas from 3 November.