All the lonely people
JAMES McAvoy says that when he showed up to work on The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, he didn’t realize the film would be broken up into two perspectives — a husband and a wife’s version of how tragedy affects the trajectory of a relationship.
‘‘We started rehearsing and I’ve got my hard copy of the script,’’ says McAvoy, seated with co-star Jessica Chastain.
‘‘My hard copy was incredibly thick, so I thought, ‘That’s strange. They must be using both sides of the paper’. Then we started and I thought, ‘This thing’s massive’. . . . And then we started the read-through and I realized . . .’’
‘‘Perhaps your agent should’ve told you!’’ laughs Chastain.
‘‘Nobody really told me. . . . I don’t think she knew,’’ argues McAvoy.
‘‘She knew! She’s at the same agency as [director] Ned [Benson]!’’ cries Chastain, still laughing.
So, there are various perspectives to a story — and that’s the point of Eleanor Rigby.
There’s Her, about Chastain’s character, Eleanor Rigby, named after the Beatles song; Him, about her husband, Conor; and Them, a combination of both. Them is available on DVD and to stream; Him and Her debut on Sky TV’s Rialto Channel this month.
Chastain was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Zero Dark Thirty. McAvoy’s films include Atonement and The Last King of Scotland.
You’ve been promoting this project for a while, what’s it like to finally have it out there?
I first read the script seven years ago. So it’s been a part of my life for a really long time. To me, it just feels normal. I don’t know what I’m gonna do when we stop talking about this movie.
I said last night, ‘Did we just make this movie so we can hang out every now and again, like four times a year and hang out in exotic places?’
McAvoy: The premise for all three films is very unique, but it’s not very mainstream. Do you worry people won’t be interested in the Him and Her versions?
I think in this culture where people are binge- watching on Game of Thrones, where they’re watching 12-hour movies, a three-hour film isn’t so long, but they have the option. They can watch Them, which is two hours, or they can watch Him and Her, which is three hours.
If you’re watching Him and Her, you’re taking part in something.
Exactly. Even the order you decide to watch them in (changes the experience). Sometimes if you watch Conor’s version first, people kind of hate Eleanor. . . . Even filming, it’s kind of like playing two different versions of a character.
‘‘If you’re watching Him and Her, you’re taking part in something.’’
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby films chart the downward spiral of a relationship, from both perspectives.