Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy’s new romantic comedy has a very 2020-esque twist
In Together, Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy play a couple struggling to function together during the coronavirus lockdown.
Over the last year, TV and film have largely stayed away from dealing with the subject at the front of everyone’s minds: the coronavirus pandemic.
Sure, there have been a handful of series and one-off projects which have paid homage to or referenced life under lockdown (most of which were filmed over Zoom), but for the most part, it’s been the hard-hitting crime dramas and psychological thrillers which have reigned supreme.
However, as lockdown eases, the number of pandemic-inspired TV shows and films making their way to our screens is starting to grow.
First, there was Songbird, the terrifying (and perhaps unnecessary) film which took the coronavirus pandemic four years into the future, when things have gotten a lot, lot worse. Then there’s Sky’s upcoming ‘coronavirus drama’ This Sceptred Isle, which will see Kenneth Branagh take on the role of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a series depicting the UK’s fight to contain the virus during the first few months of the pandemic.
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And now, we’ve got another coronavirus-based project to add to our list: James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan’s new BBC Two film, Together.
While watching a film set among the chaos you’ve endured over the last year may not sound that appealing, stay with us for a second. First of all, unlike the other films and series set over the last year, Together is a romantic comedy. And while it’s set in the UK from the first days of the Covid-19 lockdown up until the present day, it’s largely about the relationship between the film’s two central characters and how their dynamic changes as they’re forced to spend more time together – something many of us can relate to.
As the official synopsis reads: “This is the story of a family, like so many, who found a way to survive – together. It is the hilarious and heartbreaking story of a husband and wife who are forced to re-evaluate themselves and their relationship through the reality of lockdown.”
[Together is] about how humans negotiate their shared experiences when they think they have nothing in common other than staying alive
Written by Dennis Kelly (Utopia, Pulling, The Third Day) and directed by Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot, The Reader), the film will see Horgan and McAvoy star as the couple at the heart of the series – she, “a charity worker, a co-ordinator for all of Europe at a refugee charity,” and he, “a self-employed, self-made man who runs a boutique computing consultancy. He’s been forced to furlough his staff and take up growing vegetables – something he’s very proud of.”
While the couple at the heart of the series have forged a life together (they have a 10-year-old son, called Arty), the film depicts them at a time when things are far from happy. “Together is about a couple who totally hate each other, but have somehow found a way of existing together by not talking to, thinking about, noticing, communicating with or being in the same room as each other – then lockdown happens,” Kelly said of the film.
“It’s about how humans negotiate their shared experiences when they think they have nothing in common other than staying alive, and it’s about how you can hate what you love and love what you hate,” he added.
Speaking about the show and her decision to take on the film, Horgan said she was initially reluctant to do something so focused on the last year’s events – but said the script convinced her to give it a go.
“I think everyone who got involved in this film had no intention of doing a Covid drama but then we read Dennis’ script and changed our minds,” she explained. “We shot this in 10 days so it was a beautifully stressful experience. Working with Dennis again – and Stephen Daldry and James McAvoy, both of whom I’ve admired for years, was a joy. But it also felt like we were making something important.”
Also sharing his thoughts on the film, McAvoy added: “Dennis writes so wittily for these characters and his script had me within the first few pages. When I heard Sharon was involved with Stephen Daldry directing it was a no brainer. It’s a hilarious, heartfelt, entertaining and unconsciously funny exploration of a relationship and a couple facing real tragedy across a year we have all lived through.”
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While reliving the events of the last year through film may not be everybody’s cup of tea, it’ll be interesting to see how Together goes about dramatising such a defining experience for us all.
However, with Horgan and McAvoy at the helm – and Kelly and Daldry behind the scenes – we’re pretty sure it’s going to be a good ’un – and we can’t wait to find out more about the film, including when it will hit screens.
We’ll bring you the latest information as and when we get it, so keep your eyes peeled on this space for new updates.
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