‘Together’: James McAvoy Says He Would’ve Been ‘Gutted’ to Miss Out on the Role of ‘He’ Opposite Sharon Horgan

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — which is still very much ongoing — will no doubt have lasting impacts on the world, and that includes the movie industry. In addition to changing how we consume media and delaying or even canceling the production of projects across the industry, the pandemic has also become a subject matter for creative work.

James McAvoy smiling in front of a black background
James McAvoy | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

From the inclusion of the pandemic itself into plots of ongoing television shows to deeply personal reflections on what isolation has meant for the individuals living through it, we’re bound to see more and more impact. One of those projects is the film Together, a close look at what isolating feels like for a married couple. 

‘Together’ tackles pandemic life directly 

Dennis Kelly penned a dramatic screenplay that would take a sparse cast and make some poignant commentary on not just the pandemic but also the state of domestic life. The film takes a close look at a married couple as they weather isolation in lockdown. Named simply “He” and “She,” the roles are filled by James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan, respectively. 

As Daily News reports, the film has just seven scenes spread out over about 90 minutes, giving it the feel of a play in many ways. It took just 10 days to film, but both actors said that the work was especially exhausting. McAvoy explained, “at the end of a scene, or three takes or an evening or a day of work, we would be absolutely banjaxed (wiped out).” 

Horgan agreed with her co-star by adding, “It was absolutely exhausting, but also the best fun I’ve ever had.” Knowing that they had such a tight timeline to get it right made the work even more exciting and high stakes

James McAvoy drew from real-life experience for the role

James McAvoy was especially excited to get the part. Horgan wasn’t particularly impressed with the personality of He. “I thought he was an ass,” she said bluntly. However, even she admits that he was “sympathetic.” Adding to the drama is the only other character, a child named Artie played by Samuel Logan. He’s mostly a silent figure who serves as a witness to his parents’ dramatic exchanges. 

McAvoy knew from the moment he read the script that he had to get the part. “I will be gutted watching another actor do this, whoever it is,” he recalls thinking. Perhaps some of this is because McAvoy was living a — albeit much less dramatic — version of this reality himself.

As Hello! reports, McAvoy and his girlfriend Lisa Liberati moved in together in July 2020. Now they have a bigger, more extravagant space, but they spent the first part of their pandemic cohabitation in a “tiny flat.” A script that explores the way a relationship unfolds differently under such close quarters likely resonated with McAvoy’s own experiences.

Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy have upcoming projects

Since the filming for Together was so quick, both Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy were freed up to keep working on their other projects in no time. 

For Sharon Horgan, that has meant working on the TV series This Way Up and HouseBroken. She also has a part in the upcoming The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a film that will star Nicolas Cage playing himself as a kind of parody of his distinctive acting style. 

James McAvoy, meanwhile, has been working on a film that was originally called My Son. He stars as a man who receives a call from his ex-wife to learn that their 7-year-old son is missing from a campsite. As they find out that the incident is actually a kidnapping, their world crumbles. The film has wrapped up and is expected sometime in late 2021. 

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