Paul Mescal in "All of Us Strangers" Source: Searchlight Pictures

Paul Mescal Talks About the 'Illicit' Thrill of Going Down on 'All of Us Strangers' Co-Star Andrew Scott

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Paul Mescal, the on-screen lover of Andrew Scott in Andrew Haigh's supernatural romance "All of Us Strangers," got real in a new interview about those sexy scenes with Scott – and one especially "illicit" moment.

In the film, Mescal plays Harry, the only other tenant in a new high-rise apartment building. Harry shows up drunk at the door of screenwriter Adam (Scott), looking for connection and wanting to come in, but Adam sends him packing. The two reconnect later on, and embark on a sizzling love affair even as Adam finds his way back to his childhood home and discovers that his long-dead parents are still residing there, somehow alive and as young as they were in his childhood.

"It was such a joy, playing Harry, playing someone different to any role I've had," Mescal – whose turn as an adorable, and still very young, father in "Aftersun" made him a favorite of gay audiences even before his queer turn in "Strangers" – said in an interview with Dazed. "He's a little bit frightening – and drunk, sexy and forward."

The film's hot, thrilling sex scenes – directed by Andrew Haigh, himself openly gay and the veteran helmer of erotically charged films like "Greek Pete" and "Weekend" – have excited endless comment, and "All of Us Strangers" lives up to the rest of Haigh's canon in this regard.

Mescal talked about how he "loved" Scott's work as an actor, but when they got to know each other while working on "Strangers," things went to a new level. Said Mescal, "we just really liked each other."

And though Mescal is straight, he had no qualms about playing the frisky moments with his gay co-star that the role called for.

"I find that it's actually easier to play sex scenes than it is to play the tenderness after sex," Mescal told Dazed, going on to add that "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," Mescal said. "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."

But he and Scott seem to have had that mysterious chemistry in abundance – so much so that it was a little "scary," Mescal admitted.

Addressing how Harry and Adam look at each other, the Irish actor said, "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."

One look that passed between them was especially memorable, Mescal noted. "The most illicit moment is not actually the sex," he confessed, "but my eyes looking up to Andrew when I'm about to go down on him."

Just as intense as that chemistry was the pain Mescal intuited his character to be feeling. The actor explained that, "despite Harry being more forward and more sexually liberated, he still feels this pain and this shame because of his family."

"Essentially, if families aren't caring and thoughtful," Mescal added, "they can breed shame, which is ultimately quite damaging and you see the damage that it does to Adam."

"Adam has the privilege of being able to revisit those conversations with his parents," Mescal reflected. "Harry doesn't get that opportunity with his own and they're still living, so I think it's a wonderful illustration of how shame is bred in society, particularly in a home environment."

If anything is scarier than intense connection at the start of a relationship... especially on the very threshold of intimacy... it's got to be that thoughtless infliction of shame by those who are supposed to offer unconditional love.

"All of Us Strangers" is in theaters now. Watch the trailer below.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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