Andrew Haigh’s latest film “All of Us Strangers” featuring a power cast of Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy, and Jamie Bell premiered last night at the BFI London Film Festival, bringing the director’s hauntingly beautiful adaptation of the beloved novel “Strangers” to captivated audiences. With the cast skipping on the premieres due to actors’ strike, Ikon London Magazine spoke with Haigh to discuss his approach to this deeply emotional story about grief, trauma, and the power of human relationships.
Q: What was your approach to adapting the beloved novel “Strangers” into the film “All of Us Strangers”?
A: “You’re taking someone else’s work and then you make it your own. My aim was to connect over a story which is kind of beautiful and then I make it my own and the film is the result.”
Q: What major themes arise from the film?
A: “I think it’s about grief, trauma loneliness, homophobia and how that affect the person. I hope that in the end it’s just about what can we do to make people feel a little bit less alone in the world, how can we make others feel less isolated.”
Q: How did you aim to capture the surreal, dreamlike quality of the story?
A: “I wanted the film to feel like someone’s subconscious and so your subconscious can go into all kinds of spaces. I wanted it to feel almost like a dream, like waking up from a dream – a space where anything is possible, where the imagination runs free.”
Q: What was your overall vision for the aesthetic and style of the film?
A: “It was about becoming more subjective in film, that you’re drifting off into some other kind of world within ourselves. I don’t want to be influenced by too many other filmmakers while working on any film. I don’t watch many other films so I can try and stick true to myself. It’s not naturalism, it’s not realism, it’s about setting the film sort of slightly askew, so it exists in a kind of liminal space.”
Q: What message or themes do you hope resonate with audiences from the film?
A: “I hope that ultimately ‘All of Us Strangers’ conveys a message about the beauty in human connection and the power we have to make people feel a little bit less alone in the world.”
Q: The film features some intimate scenes between the characters players by Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott. How did you approach filming these scenes?
A: “The intimate scenes just need to feel real and honest and they’re driven by story, they’re not just there for exploitive reasons. It’s about two people coming together so when two people come together they have intimate relationships and so I wanted to just get that across.”
Q: How did you cultivate chemistry between the actors on set?
A: “I think it’s both luck and they’re brilliant actors and they were really excited to work with each other. I think when actors are excited to work with each other it means that they want to connect with those other performers and that’s where you see some kind of magic.”
Q: What was it like working with the cast overall?
A: “It was beautiful to work with them, they were all fantastic. It’s four brilliant actors who I’ve liked for a long time and so seeing them come together it was fantastic. They seem to have an amazing chemistry between all of them.”
The film will be released in the UK cinemas on the January the 26th 2024.