Writer Dennis Kelly says: “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. 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. And Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy are brilliant in it.”
Directed by the Academy, Emmy and Bafta Award-winning director, Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot, The Reader) the film is set in the UK from the first days of the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 until present day. Together is produced by Guy Heeley (Locke, Denial, London Spy) and the multi-award-winning West End and Broadway theatre producer Sonia Friedman (TV credits include: Uncle Vanya, The Dresser, Wolf Hall).
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.
James McAvoy says: “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.”
Sharon Horgan adds: “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. 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. And the fact that it feels like news means that the Covid death toll, the tragedy of so many lives lost unnecessarily has not been talked about enough.”
Piers Wenger, Director BBC Drama and Rose Garnett, Director BBC Film, say: “While rooted in the experience of one family, Together tells the story of us all – Dennis has created a script which will powerfully resonate with audiences, at once funny and uncomfortable whilst warm and deeply moving. With Stephen at the helm and James and Sharon on screen, this is gold-standard drama which we’re proud to be part of.”
She, played by Horgan, is a charity worker, a co-ordinator for all of Europe at a refugee charity. She’s the daughter of a dentist father and an ‘old socialist’ mother – the only grandparent still around.
He, played by McAvoy, is 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.
Athur/Arty is their 10 year-old son, and the one thing that has kept his parents relationship together. Until lockdown.
Producers Guy Heeley and Sonia Friedman add: “We feel hugely fortunate that when a story this powerful and timely comes together with talent of this calibre, we can call the BBC and have it on the screen less than six months later. With Dennis’ tender, brutally honest and piercingly funny writing, and Stephen’s visceral directing, James and Sharon have brought this story to life with an astonishing, exhilarating charge which touches on our collective experience of the last very challenging year.”
Together, a Shoebox Films and Sonia Friedman Productions film for BBC Two and BBC Film, is written by Dennis Kelly, produced by Sonia Friedman and Guy Heeley and directed by Stephen Daldry. The executive producers are Dennis Kelly; Rose Garnett, Director BBC Film; and Gaynor Holmes for BBC. Deals negotiated by Clare Hardwick of Grey Seal Media on behalf of production and Geraldine Atlee for BBC.