James McAvoy on Why Filming the BBC Film ‘Together’ Was “Completely Selfish and Personal”

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James McAvoy in Together

“It felt like we were getting to use our craft rather than just being little vehicles for honesty and truth.” – James McAvoy

“Work from home” during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed many people to spend more time with their families. For the most part, that has likely been a positive thing… unless, of course, your relationship is strained. In the BBC film Together, James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan star as a couple who are facing issues during lockdown. Speaking with ABC News about Together, McAvoy offers significant praise for the film’s screenplay written by Tony and Olivier Award-winning British screenwriter and playwright Dennis Kelly.

Because much of the film consists of dialogue, McAvoy admits that with material this dense it was impossible to hold back during rehearsal. He explains, “There’s a little bit of film acting where it’s like, ‘Save it for the camera, save it for the take’… People don’t even care sometimes if you’re saying the lines in the script as long as something truthful got captured on camera, something vital and alive and full of energy… But this is so detailed and so dense… you couldn’t just save it for the camera. You couldn’t just save it for the day and hope a better truth would come out because maybe a truth comes out in the first five seconds and then you realize you have 20 minutes of this and you need to make every minute work. If one minute doesn’t work… the audience will check out. It felt like we were getting to use our craft rather than just being little vehicles for honesty and truth.”

In fact, McAvoy shares the deepest praise for the screenplay of Together, likening it to a real-life conversation with someone close to you. He continues, “It’s just completely selfish and personal… Sometimes it’s just as simple as, ‘My God, the writing is compelling enough that all I need to do is look into the camera and talk to you for 10 minutes and it’s enough.’ There’s something so pure about that. It’s like when you’re in the pub or your pal’s telling you a story or you’re having a conversation with a mate or your missus or your son or whoever. When the conversation is that compelling and that exciting, hours go by, days go by, weeks go by. If we can do that in writing and filming and acting, then that is really, really special because that’s real connection.”

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