Normal People breakout Mescal, 27, and Fleabag’s Scott, 47, star as lovers in Haigh’s new romance movie based on the 1987 novel Strangers by Taichi Yamada.
During a recent Q&A following a screening of the film in Los Angeles, Haigh was asked how he managed to cultivate chemistry between the two actors.
The British filmmaker said that the three of them went to a concert together. “I could tell they were really into each other because they completely ignored me most of the day,” he said.
“They were just talking and putting their arms around each other. You could tell they really liked each other,” he added. “And they’re still really good friends now.”
Haigh chalked it up to Scott and Mescal’s professionalism as actors, saying: “If you can get actors that want to work together, that care about working with each other, there’s chemistry already there because they wanted it to be the best it could be.”
The film follows Adam (Scott), a writer who lives outside of London in a nearly deserted apartment building. His neighbour Harry (Mescal) returns home drunk one night and flirts with him. Their steamy encounter develops into a tender romance.
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) appear to be living just as they were on the day they died 30 years ago.
In an August interview, Haigh commended Scott and Mescal for being “fearless” while shooting the film’s sex scenes.
“There was chemistry between the two of them literally the second I saw them together,” he told Vanity Fair. “Both of them were pretty fearless. There was no sense of them being afraid of approaching those scenes. They knew how important they were”.
He further suggested that the sex scenes in All of Us Strangers will be different from those he has filmed previously. Haigh, who is openly gay, is 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.”
All of Us Strangers will be released in US cinemas on 22 December, followed by a UK release date on 26 January 2024.