NEW YORK (AP) – James McAvoy says that when he showed up to work on “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”, he didn’t realise 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,” said McAvoy, seated with Jessica Chastain during a recent interview. “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 realised…”
“Perhaps your agent should’ve told you!” laughed Chastain.
“Nobody really told me… I don’t think she knew,” argued McAvoy.
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” arrives in theatres Friday; “Him” and “Her” will play in limited release beginning in October.
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 year. What’s it like to have it finally released?
Chastain: 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.
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?
Chastain: 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.
McAvoy: If you’re watching ‘Him’ and ‘Her’, you’re taking part in something.
Chastain: 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.