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‘All of Us Strangers’ | Anatomy of a Scene

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My name is Andrew Haigh, and I am the director and screenwriter of ‘All of Us Strangers.’ So here we have Adam, played by Andrew Scott, meeting his parents again for the first time after they’ve been dead for 30 years. And the dad is played by Jamie Bell, and the mother, who is about to emerge from his childhood home, is played by Claire Foy. “Yes, it is you.” And I find this a really kind of special, strange, odd moment. I mean, the idea of meeting someone that you have lost is so powerful and strange and unusual. But what I like, is that Adam is not surprised almost. He’s not even afraid to go in. He wants this reconnection. “Whereabouts?” “Do you live by yourself?” “Do you own your own place?” “Yeah. It’s just a flat.” “What did I tell you? What did I tell you? I told you he’d be doing well for himself, didn’t I?” And this was actually shot in my own childhood home, where I lived until about the age of eight. So it was a magical experience shooting here. It felt like a haunted house. “Now, I always knew you’d be creative.” It was very important to me that they didn’t feel like traditional ghosts. I didn’t want to get wrapped up in the logic of regular ghost stories. They touch him. We see that touch very, very early on. There’s a lot of touch and tenderness within this film. And that was so key to me. And it’s strange, because they’re treating him like he is their son, but at the same time, they’re offering him a drink. He’s clearly not a young boy anymore. And I think slowly in the scene, I want you to really feel like, oh, yes, we’re not in the present day. The way the parents are dressed. The fact they’re both smoking. The language that they use was really important to me, because I wanted the audience to be unsure of what we were seeing. Are they ghosts? Are they manifestations of his subconscious? Is it a fantasy? And I wanted to play with those different elements, so it felt like it could be all of those things, and keep making you ask questions about what is real and what is not real. [CLINKING]

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