Andrew Scott, actor in "Without Ever Knowing Us", playing the lie that leads to the truth

In 2010, Sherlock Holmes found on his path a new avatar of Professor Moriarty, evil genius. In the Sherlock series, Conan Doyle’s paranoid soldier had transformed into an attractive and perverse young man, played by a 36-year-old actor, accustomed to London theater stages, and second or third roles, Andrew Scott.

Director Andrew Haigh remembers the appearance: “I said to myself, this is a very interesting actor. When he speaks, you see the thoughts forming on his face. » This face with its fine features, which can be as vulnerable as it is threatening, has become familiar: we saw Andrew Scott as a hot priest in the second season of Fleabag , as an honest officer in 1917 , by Sam Mendes, we will soon find him as Tom Ripley, in a series based on the misdeeds of Patricia Highsmith’s character, already played by Alain Delon, Dennis Hopper, Matt Damon and John Malkovich.

At the beginning of December 2023, the two Andrews, Scott and Haigh, are in London, to talk about Without ever knowing us , a ghost film, celebration of desire, meditation on the permanence of memory and love, in which Scott holds his first major role, that of Adam, a solitary writer.

“For certain characters, we don’t need ornamentation ,” he said of Adam. I did a play, Sea Wall, by Simon Stevens, and I remember being convinced that I wanted to keep my accent [Andrew Scott was born and raised in Dublin], my clothes. For this film too, I wanted to reveal who I am more than transform myself into someone else. »

“Return to childhood”

Andrew Haigh’s screenplay requires its lead actor to embark on a magical quest for the past that allows him to find his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) as they were when he was 12 years old and a history of violent and carnal love with Harry, a young Dionysian man (Paul Mescal).

“I had to go back to childhood without being childish,” explains the actor. It was physical. Not that it’s a physical performance, but I believe that a child with his parents is sensual, tactile. This is the throughline of this character. This is someone no one has touched in a long time. He wants to find his place between his parents, in their bed. We shot all these family sequences first, in the house where Andrew Haigh grew up, which served as a foundation for the scenes between Adam and Harry. »

An even more solid foundation, explains the director: “We are roughly the same age, me 50, him 47, we both grew up in the 1980s, we are both gay. We both know what existence was like at that time. » Haigh has made no secret of his desire to cast the role of Adam as a gay actor, an option that Scott approves of but qualifies: “Ideally, all roles should be open to everyone, but the playing field is sloping. Furthermore, we must always take into account the specificity of each project. For this one, there were other gay actors, I hope Andrew also chose me for reasons other than my sexual orientation. »

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