All the lonely peo­ple

The Press - The Box - - RELATIONSHIP DRAMAS - AP

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.’’

James McAvoy

McAvoy: Chas­tain:

The Dis­ap­pear­ance of Eleanor Rigby films chart the down­ward spi­ral of a re­la­tion­ship, from both per­spec­tives.

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