As All of Us Strangers begins to rack up the awards season accolades — so far being nominated at the Gothams, Film Independent Spirits and National Board of Review Awards — stars Andrew Scott, Claire Foy and Jamie Bell premiered their film in Los Angeles on Saturday night alongside writer-director Andrew Haigh.
The project stars Scott as a gay writer who begins a relationship with his mysterious neighbor (played by Paul Mescal), while at the same time discovering his parents (played by Foy and Bell) appear to be living just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.
“I thought it was really one of the most extraordinary scripts I’d ever read. Truly heartbreaking,” Scott told The Hollywood Reporter of taking on the project. “I was really in bits after reading the script and the finished movie really doesn’t differ too much from the original script.”
Scott and Mescal — who wasn’t in attendance at the event — are getting particular attention for their chemistry, as the Fleabag actor said they knew each other just a little bit before filming, but “we formed a really, really close bond. I absolutely adore Paul, he was such an incredible colleague. He’s such a soulful and intelligent and hardworking actor, it was wonderful. Couldn’t have imagined doing it with anyone else.”
Both actors are fresh off of starring as romantic leads in their own hit shows — Mescal in Normal People and Scott in Fleabag — though the latter noted that while this role is very different from playing the “Hot Priest” in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s series, “playing love in that sense, falling in love, is a really beautiful thing to do, and chemistry is a very hard thing to quantify or qualify. I think sometimes chemistry is about great writing and actors really wanting to be there and just really understanding that acting is about just listening to each other, in the same way that a good date is about good listening.”
Scott also weighed in on the film’s certified tear-jerker status, saying, “I really do think it’s sad, but it’s more emotional than sad, I would say. It’s this idea of what we might say to the people that are no longer in our lives — that’s a beautiful, audacious sort of premise and that’s why it’s touching.”
“I read one review that said this is a nuclear-grade tear jerker, and I think that’s appropriate,” added Bell. “I’ve read the synopsis of this to people and they’re already kind of crying. I also think that sometimes setting that standard or expectation is a mistake, so I don’t know, go into it with an open mind, not expecting anything, and I think you’ll be rewarded.” Foy also joked that although tears are likely, they are not required: “It’s completely fine to come and not cry at all.”
In taking on the role of Scott’s character’s late father, Bell said that the familial connection with him, as well as with Foy, came quite naturally.
“He’s such an easy person to love, she’s a phenomenal actress. Weirdly off set we were kind of also still a family; we shot at Andrew Haigh’s childhood home and would go next door to another house that was the holding room, and me and Claire would watch the tennis, because Wimbledon was on, and [Scott] would disappear upstairs like a teenager,” Bell laughed.
For her part, Foy said her agent called her and “basically just cried on the phone to me about how significant this was and how important this film was, and then I read [the script] and saw so many moments of my life it connected with and feelings that I’ve had about being alive and being a human being. I knew that it would affect a lot of people.”
All of Us Strangers hits theaters Dec. 22.