Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott were ‘fearless’ filming sex scenes for new romance, says director

Director Andrew Haigh has commended Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal for being “fearless” on the set of their forthcoming gay romance film.

Scott, 46, and Mescal, 27, will star opposite one another in Haigh’s drama All of Us Strangers, which is based on the 1987 novel Strangers by Taichi Yamada.

The film follows Adam (Scott), a writer living outside of London. His neighbour Harry (Mescal) returns home drunk one night and flirts with him. Their steamy encounter develops into a tender relationship.

Adam finds himself mysteriously pulled back to his childhood home where he discovers that his long-dead parents (played by The Crown’s Claire Foy and Rocketman star Jamie Bell) are not only alive but they have not aged in 30 years.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Haigh recalled that Scott and Mescal – actors best known for Fleabag and Normal People, respectively –  had instant chemistry with one another.

“There was chemistry between the two of them literally the second I saw them together,” he told the publication.

Speaking of the film’s sex scenes, the director said: “Both of them were pretty fearless. There was no sense of them being afraid of approaching those scenes. They knew how important they were”.

Haigh suggested that the sex scenes in All of Us Strangers will be different to those he has filmed previously.

‘All of Us Strangers’ is an adaptation of the 1987 novel ‘Strangers’ by Taichi Yamada (20th Century Studios)
‘All of Us Strangers’ is an adaptation of the 1987 novel ‘Strangers’ by Taichi Yamada (20th Century Studios)

Haigh was behind the 2011 queer indie film Weekend. He also served as a director and executive producer on HBO’s gay drama-comedy series Looking.

“I’ve been more objective in how I’ve shot sex scenes in the past,” he said.

“Here, 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.”

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal as Adam and Harry in ‘All of Us Strangers’ (Parisa Taghizadeh)
Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal as Adam and Harry in ‘All of Us Strangers’ (Parisa Taghizadeh)

Speaking about wanting to capture the authenticity of the plot, Haigh explained that he was intent on casting a gay actor, such as Scott, in the role of Adam.

He did, however, clarify that he does not believe only gay actors should play gay roles.

“I’m not one of those people who thinks you have to cast a queer actor in a queer role, but for this role, I did want to because I was trying to unpick some nuances of a certain generation of gay people,” Haigh said.

He said of Scott: “I needed someone that could understand that and have those conversations with me. I didn’t want it to feel like I was trying to explain what it was like.”

Scott opened up about his sexuality in a 2013 interview with The Independent.

“Mercifully, these days people don’t see being gay as a character flaw. But nor is it a virtue, like kindness. Or a talent, like playing the banjo. It’s just a fact,” he said.

“Of course, it’s part of my make-up, but I don’t want to trade on it. I am a private person; I think that’s important if you’re an actor. But there’s a difference between privacy and secrecy, and I’m not a secretive person. Really I just want to get on with my job, which is to pretend to be lots of different people. Simple as that.”

All of Us Strangers is scheduled for a theatrical release on 22 December in the US. The film is coming soon to the UK, although a release date is yet to be announced.