Since its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival last August, the new romantic drama All of Us Strangers has been receiving endless critical acclaim. For instance, Total Film awarded the movie the full five stars describing it as "a testament to the power of love" and "a very moving piece of work".
One particular aspect of the film that has been earning universal praise is the chemistry between its two leads, Fleabag's Andrew Scott and Normal People's Paul Mescal. Written and directed by Andrew Haigh, Scott stars as screenwriter Adam who heads back to his childhood home, only to discover that his parents (portrayed by Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) appear to be living there as they were before the day of their death, which happened 30 years prior. Meanwhile, further complicating matters is his new relationship with mysterious neighbor Harry, portrayed by Mescal.
Although other productions put their actors through various exercises to help build chemistry, Mescal revealed that there was none of that on All of Us Strangers, adding that he doesn't quite believe those processes work either. He told GamesRadar+ and the Inside Total Film podcast: "I don't think we actively did anything like there weren't exercises. I'm yet to be convinced that that's a way of navigating that. We both trusted each other innately and I think it helped a lot for me that I had a huge admiration of Andrew before going in. But we went about our jobs – it's work, one portion of the story was making that relationship believable. My dad always says the main thing about acting is making sure that the audience believes in you. It's simply put but a hard thing to put into practice. But we are just doing our jobs."
However, whilst that is indeed the case, the actors do believe that audience anticipation did have a key role to play here in creating their chemistry. People have long wanted the two Irish stars to work together on the screen, and so when casting was announced for All of Us Strangers, there was much excitement online from fans, which Mescal thinks aided them: "If you have an audience who want two people to work together, that builds chemistry, as there is an anticipation for it, which helps."
Scott added: "I think sometimes chemistry is built in the audience and the scenario you are in, there's so many different things. Or maybe an interest in seeing two different energies act together, that's there as well. That anticipation, our enjoyment of acting together, our desire to work together, then the characters' situation, then the beautiful script. That's what builds this thing that makes people go, 'Oh, I recognize this, it's making me feel the chemistry'."
All of Us Strangers arrives in UK cinemas on January 26. For the full interview with Scott and Mescal, as well as co-star Foy, listen to the latest episode of the Inside Total Film podcast.