All of Us Strangers star Andrew Scott has opened up about the experience of filming gay sex scenes with fellow Irish actor Paul Mescal.
The pair play lovers in Andrew Haigh’s new romantic fantasy movie, which, according to its official synopsis, “follows screenwriter Adam (Scott) who, on a solitary night in his nearly vacant tower block in modern London, has an unexpected encounter with enigmatic neighbour Harry (Mescal), disrupting the cadence of his routine.
“As Adam and Harry grow closer, Adam is drawn back to his childhood residence, unearthing the astonishing truth that his deceased parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) are both alive and unaged, resembling the day they passed over three decades earlier.”
Speaking to British GQ after being named one of the outlet’s Men Of The Year, alongside other queer favourites boygenius and Ncuti Gatwa, Scott recalled filming the sex scenes in All of Us Strangers.
“We had a laugh…Jesus, it’s f*cking 7:30 in the morning and you’re doing unspeakable things to each other, surrounded by men in three-quarter length trousers,” he said.
Reflecting on how the sequences translate on-screen, he added, “A lot of the time, the thing that is actually more provocative isn’t the sex, but the tenderness.”
Director Andrew Haigh echoed this, explaining that although the sex scenes in All of Us Strangers are “not explicit”, they are “really intimate, and that draws you in.”
In a separate interview with Vanity Fair, Haigh also stated, “I really wanted to feel the subjective nature of having sex and what it feels like—the nervousness and the excitement and the physical sensation of being touched by someone else, and what that does to you.”
Speaking about the Irish actors’ performances, the director added, “There was chemistry between the two of them literally the second I saw them together…Both of them were pretty fearless. There was no sense of them being afraid of approaching those scenes. They knew how important they were.”
The pair appear to have a good relationship both professionally and personally, with Mescal quoted in the GQ piece as saying, “Andrew is the kind of person who makes you feel better simply by being in their company”.
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Scott touched on an array of different topics in his Men Of The Year feature, from playing the villain in Sherlock and the heartthrob Fleabag to his experience of coming out as gay.
On the latter, he explained: “I had a very happy childhood…But there’s an inevitable pain that you have to go through when you have to take a risk telling your family something about yourself.
“I really do think that that is a gift now, because to have to risk everything, and for your family and friends to say ‘we accept you no matter what,’ that’s a real feeling of love that you get confirmed at a very young age, that actually some people who aren’t queer don’t get. I mean, some queer people aren’t so lucky.”
He grappled with his sexuality during his teenage years, admitting, “There was so much of me that was quite fearful, actually, and ignoring that side of me.”
When he did come out privately, he was “encouraged” by people in the industry that he admired to keep his sexuality to himself. “I understand why they gave that advice, but I’m also glad that I eventually ignored it,” he stated.
Scott officially came out publicly in an interview with The Independent in 2013, and now, playing an openly gay character in All of Us Strangers, he says, “There’s this expression ‘my burden has become my gift’…I remember when I was 22 reading that and thinking wouldn’t that be amazing? If something that you think is a shameful part of you is actually a bit of you that gives something back?”
He continued: “I think that’s maybe why (playing Adam) feels so gratifying and cathartic, because I did have to bring so much of my own pain into it.”
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All of Us Strangers opened Belfast Film Festival and will screen at Cork International Film Festival on November 19 before officially releasing in Irish cinemas in January 2024.
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