Spotlight Project: Aftersun

At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum. As a world of adolescence creeps into view, beyond her eye Calum struggles under the weight of life outside of fatherhood. Twenty years later, Sophie's tender recollections of their last holiday become a powerful and heartrending portrait of their relationship, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn't.

Paul Mescal & Andrew Scott for Flaunt Magazine

Paul and Andrew did a conversation with Saoirse Ronan for Flaunt magazine wherein they discussed All of Us Strangers, their roles, and more. It’s such a fun conversation! Check out a snippet below, and read it in full here in our press section. Also head over to our gallery for some outtakes and some screencaps from the making-of film!

Saoirse: Andrew, um, Paul was making fun of me because I have a ring light.

Andrew: I was gonna say, you look radiant.

Paul [laughing]: Fucking desperate is what that is.

Saoirse: I have a ring light because my basement is too dark and I wanted to look good for you. I don’t care about Paul, but I wanted to look good for you.

Andrew: What a humble brag. “My lower ground level is just a bit too dark.”[Several minutes of lighthearted ribbing later…]

Saoirse: Anyway. Let’s talk about your gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous film. You’re two unbelievably talented, brilliant, beautiful men that I love very much and I’m very, very proud of. One of which I know incredibly well. One of which—Andrew—I don’t know as well, but you are truly one of the best actors in the world, and that’s not mincing words at all.

Andrew: Not yet, Saoirse. Not yet.

Saoirse: You are! We watched [the film] last night with Paul’s, um… very small collection of friends.

Paul: I did a friends and family screening, Andrew, and I wanted to cancel it because—and this isn’t like a ‘woe is me’—but I don’t have lots of friends. And none of my family showed up to it. So honestly, I had about five actual friends there. There were more people there that I’d never met before.

Andrew: Yeah, but your siblings had seen it already!

Paul: But still… Like fucking show up is what I think that to that.

Andrew: Who was there?

Saoirse: Publicists…

Saoirse: Andrew, how did you access things about your own experience [in the role]? Was it painful? Do you feel changed in any way? Do you feel like you’re being kinder to yourself? Do you feel the same? How do you feel after the whole experience?

Andrew: It’s unlike anything else, isn’t it? When you see something in a script and you think, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to get to express something that’s never been expressed before.’ So even if it’s very vulnerable I’ve never really found it painful to be in pain on screen. I think pain expressed is pain released. It’s a really beautiful thing about our job, particularly in something that’s so personal to me in this story.

But weirdly, when we went to see a screening for the first time after the strike, I did feel very exposed. I think, Paul, you thought this too, in relation to Harry, because obviously we’re physically very exposed in the film—but there were scenes that I didn’t realize were so immersive, and being there in front of 350 people who are watching moments in the film where I really don’t feel like I was acting. It feels like it was just me, and for that to not only be seen by an audience, but for it to be understood, and for other people to connect with it feels completely magical. When I was younger, I thought that part of me would never be seen, and if it was, it would be rejected.

Saoirse: And Paul, what about for you?

Paul: I think I differ slightly from Andrew in that approach… When I’m thinking about starting to play Harry, I’ll normally spend like a day and go, “Where are we similarly aligned?” Then that starts to get a bit painful, and I’ll say, “Okay, I’m not going to think about that.” I’m going to focus on an accent or something that’s different, or I start thinking about the aesthetic, how I want him to be kind of shaggy and have a mustache. They’re just kind of loose ideas. I was surprised on set because, and I know we’re amongst friends here… and I know it’s going to be in a magazine, but there was a moment that I was surprised at how unavailable I was to myself.

There was a day on set when we were shooting the scene with Andrew where he’s talking about his mother’s death, and my mom had just gotten sick, and I was so oblivious to the fact that it could have been triggering. We were setting up for the scene, and I remember the cameras getting set up, and I was like, “Oh fuck this! I’m going to have a panic attack.” I wasn’t even aware at the time that, of course, it was associated with the death of a parent. Thankfully my mom is doing quite well now, but at that time it was all in flux. I ended up having a panic attack and ran off-set. So that kind of tunes into the fact—and I don’t know if it’s damaging because I feel like it works for me when I’m acting—I focus on the differences because I feel like the similarities simply exist.

21 December '23

Paul Mescal & Andrew Scott for Los Angeles Times

Paul and Andrew also did an interview for Los Angeles Times as part of All of Us Strangers promotion! It’s also another pretty shoot. Check out a snippet of the interview below, and some photos in our gallery. If you’re also not able to access the full article on their website, you can read it here.

I heard your first scene together was rushed because of technical issues. For a movie as delicate as this one, that sounds nerve-racking.

Andrew Scott: I actually think the clock ticking can be conducive to creativity. Sometimes a lethargy comes on bigger budget stuff, because your imagination is constantly being interrupted. What happens is you have a little bit of momentum, then you’re waiting around for a bit and the momentum is stopped. So a bit of a — pardon the expression — kick-bollocks scramble can be really wonderful. And that scene, which involves all the characters, is one of the most extraordinary scenes in the film, because it’s all in one take.

A hallmark of Haigh’s films is small physical gestures that feel improvised. Discuss.

Paul Mescal: Like, when I’m brushing my teeth and you come from behind [and hug me]. That was directed. You totally forget that one-eighth of a page in the script. But Andrew puts them in at critical junctures just when you need the film to be healing.

Scott: Lots of the improvisation was physical. The sex in the film was very important. The idea that sometimes one person is nervous at some point or just the way you express yourself physically. Mercifully, we were very comfortable with each other from the beginning. We knew the camera was roaming, so it wasn’t as technical. We [had an] intimacy coordinator and [stayed] within the bounds of what we’d agreed to. But within that we were very free.

Did you share your director’s initial concern that audiences might find “Strangers” absurd?

Scott: I think all great works of art have some sort of flourish or audacity about them. Any film that we love has a concept that afterwards you think, “Oh, God, that could have been kind of ridiculous.” “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “2001” or “Dr. Strangelove.” Films we love have a singularity about them. And singularity is always going to be absurd in some way — until it isn’t.

Paul, talk about being the last one cast.

Mescal: I read the script, and without getting into a conversation about sexuality, Harry was somebody I understood innately. I don’t have the same shared life experience. I’m not estranged from my family, etc. But I know who that man is and that the people populating the film were going to tell the story correctly. I desperately wanted to be involved.So I pursued the role to a certain extent. But all you can do as an actor is express interest, put yourself on the line and go, “I hope this director likes me.” I remember being incredibly nervous before the Zoom with Andrew. It’d have devastated me to see somebody else play it. I don’t think I could watch it.

How much rehearsal was devoted to building chemistry?

Scott: We didn’t do anything, really.

Mescal: I feel like you can’t work towards something like that. Imagine you’re on a date and there’s no chemistry. It doesn’t matter how many dates you go on. It doesn’t make you feel any closer to that person. [To Andrew] You’ve said this before, but there’s actors who hate each other who have the most amazing chemistry. So it has nothing to do with whether you like somebody or not. But I think it helps when you do.It’s a trust thing.

Los Angeles Times
20 December '23

Paul Mescal & Andrew Scott for The New York Times

Paul and Andrew recently spoke with The New York Times to discuss their movie All of Us Strangers. Check out a snippet of their interview below, and some photos from their shoot in our gallery! If you’re not able to access the full interview due to paywall, you can read it in full here.

Andrew, you were attached to this movie first. How did you feel when Paul was cast?

SCOTT I was really thrilled because I was hoping that people would be able to see how cinematic and brilliant that role is.

MESCAL It never occurred to me that people wouldn’t be interested in it.

SCOTT Well, the character is such a vessel for love. To be able to play love, it’s something that you have to just know how to embody, and Paul is so excellent about being able to allow the audience in. When I heard he was interested, I was saying to Andrew, “Make that happen!”

MESCAL Even if I didn’t like the script or Andrew Haigh as much as I do, and I knew Andrew [Scott] was going to be doing the film, I still would have done the film.

SCOTT Would you?

MESCAL A hundred percent. And I know that probably sounds sycophantic, but when I was reading it and imagining you’d do it, I thought, “This is built for an actor of your caliber.” There’s lots of brilliant dramatic actors in the world, but what I think separates Andrew is his capacity to understand the dramatic requirements of a scene but also to play utterly against it. He finds humor in subject matter like this, which is really quite heavy, and if you can make an audience laugh, you’re halfway to making them cry.

This is a very tactile movie, too.

SCOTT There’s so much touching, whether that’s familial touching or a more sensual thing. People have talked an awful lot about the chemistry and the sex between our characters, but actually what I think is really radical and affecting about the relationship is how affectionate and tender they are with each other. It’s such a beautiful thing to play, isn’t it? Just real care.

MESCAL I find it healing to watch that kind of emotional intimacy. I remember being surprised when we watched it for the first time, because I didn’t remember being so close to your face when we were talking, how we were totally taking each other in. There’s a weird thing that I don’t think you can cheat: You know how when somebody you love is talking to you, and you look at their lips? It’s like, Jesus, I can’t remember doing that.

Andrew, you’ve said before that acting is a matter of revealing. What’s being revealed about you by taking on this role?

SCOTT I think an awful lot, if I’m honest. I’m happy to be able to say that to be emancipated from shame has been genuinely the biggest achievement of my life. For a long time, I have felt very comfortable with myself, but it doesn’t take much to go back there — something a taxi driver can say can still wound you. If he might say, “You’ve got a wife?” You could go, “No, I don’t,” or is that sort of a lie by omission? I think the challenge was to undo the work and go to that place where you feel frightened.

How were you able to emancipate yourself from shame?

SCOTT I genuinely think that acting helped me. When I was a kid, I started doing elocution lessons because I had a really bad lisp. “She sells seashells,” I had to say that 17 times a day. So they sent me to elocution, which was boring, but eventually it was speech and drama classes. I was so shy and terrified, but then someone would say, “Get up and do an improvisation,” and some part of me felt …

MESCAL … free?

SCOTT Free, and I loved it. And then I practiced it a little bit more and then started doing it as a job. When I was 18 or 19, I was playing gay parts but I wasn’t out. A lot of people within the industry were queer, so I was surrounded by them and then, bit by bit, started to feel confident. To make something like [“All of Us Strangers”], it moves me, because I never thought that I’d get a chance to expose myself so much in a film like this or for it to be in such a trusting environment with such brilliant colleagues.

And do you rush headlong into the chance to expose yourself like that?

SCOTT I do. It’s my responsibility. The further I go into acting, I think that’s all it is, actually.

The New York Times
20 December '23

Variety’s Actors on Actors Season 19

Paul was in the new season of Variety’s Actors on Actors, as part of promotion for All of Us Strangers! This time, he was paired with Natalie Portman, who’s promoting May December. Check out their full conversation below, and some photos from their shoot in our gallery!

20 December '23

‘All of Us Strangers’ Official Trailer

Searchlight Pictures has released the full official trailer of All of Us Strangers, starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. It is set to be released in theaters on December 22nd. Check out the trailer below, and some screencaps in our gallery!

One night in his near-empty tower block in contemporary London, Adam (Andrew Scott) has a chance encounter with a mysterious neighbor Harry (Paul Mescal), which punctures the rhythm of his everyday life. As a relationship develops between them, Adam is preoccupied with memories of the past and finds himself drawn back to the suburban town where he grew up, and the childhood home where his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell), appear to be living, just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.

21 September '23