Paul Mescal opens up about "most illicit moment" in All of Us Strangers

All of Us Strangers spoilers follow.

Paul Mescal has opened up about the "most illicit" moment for him in new film All of Us Strangers.

The acclaimed new movie follows a screenwriter called Adam (played by Andrew Scott) who returns to his childhood home and discovers his deceased parents there, and also develops a relationship with his mysterious neighbour Harry (Mescal).

Speaking to Dazed about a major sex scene, Mescal explained how the way he and Scott look at each other "scared" him, and provided a moment more intimate than the sex itself.

all of us strangers trailer
Searchlight Pictures

Related: All of Us Strangers review: An affecting ghost story about queer trauma

"That’s the bit that scared me. When I saw it for the first time in the audience, I asked Andrew if he remembered me doing that," he recalled. "The most illicit moment is not actually the sex, but my eyes looking up to Andrew when I’m about to go down on him."

Mescal also explained how he built intimacy with Scott, revealing: "I loved Andrew as an actor before we knew each other properly. And when I started to know him more, we just really liked each other. I find that it’s actually easier to play sex scenes than it is to play the tenderness after sex.

"Because you’re both inhabiting a physical language – that distinct feeling of lying on a bed and talking to somebody you love after having sex. The tenderness required in your quality of touch is something you can’t really block and write.

paul mescal, andrew scott, all of us strangers
Courtesy of Searchlight Picture

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"It’s not like you’re going to touch his hand like this at this particular moment. It just doesn’t work like that. So I think we do have this innate thing called chemistry, which I find impossible to describe."

Director Andrew Haigh recently sat down with Digital Spy and spoke about that particular scene, which sees Harry lick semen off of Adam's chest – explaining how it proves pivotal in Adam overcoming shame associated with growing up during the AIDS crisis.

"That's the point of that shot to me," he revealed. "I think there's probably lots and lots of people who will not truly understand that at all. Of course, you will understand it because you understand it from a personal standpoint.

andrew scott, paul mescal, all of us strangers
Searchlight Pictures

Related: Andrew Haigh responds to Andrew Scott's All of Us Strangers BAFTA snub

"There are two gay people of a different generation and one has no fear in that moment of what he's doing. The other one is still resistant to that. That's years of something within his body telling him to be resistant. And he overcomes it because of course, you can overcome it. Lots of people do overcome that fear and shame and that is the point.

"In that moment, there was a little bit of resistance, but the intimacy and the compassion of Harry in that moment allows him to overcome a sort of embedded fear."

All of Us Strangers is out now in UK and US cinemas.

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