James McAvoy, Sharon Horgan Star in COVID Drama ‘Together,’ First Look Revealed

·3-min read

James McAvoy (“Split,” “His Dark Materials”) and Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe,” “Military Wives”) are set to front “Utopia” writer Dennis Kelly’s drama “Together.”

Directed by Emmy and BAFTA-winning director Stephen Daldry (“The Crown”), the film is set in the U.K. from the first days of the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 until the present day. It tells the story of a husband and wife who are forced to re-evaluate themselves and their relationship during lockdown.

More from Variety

Horgan plays a charity worker who is a co-ordinator for all of Europe at a refugee charity, while McAvoy plays a self-employed man who runs a boutique computing consultancy. He’s been forced to furlough his staff and take up growing vegetables. The couple share a 10-year-old son, who is the one thing that has kept his parents’ relationship together — until lockdown.

“Together” is produced by Guy Heeley and West End and Broadway theater producer Sonia Friedman.

“Dennis writes so wittily for these characters and his script had me within the first few pages,” said McAvoy. “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.”

Horgan added: “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 ten 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”.

Kelly said: “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.”

Piers Wenger, director BBC Drama, and Rose Garnett, director BBC Film, said: “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.”

Producers Heeley and Friedman said: “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” is a Shoebox Films and Sonia Friedman Productions film for BBC Two and BBC Film. Executive producers are Dennis Kelly; Rose Garnett, director BBC Film; and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC. Deals were negotiated by Clare Hardwick of Grey Seal Media on behalf of production and Geraldine Atlee for BBC.

Endeavor Content will handle worldwide sales outside of the U.K.

Daldry is repped by CAA, while Kelly is repped by Casarotto Ramsay. McAvoy is repped by United Agents and UTA and Horgan is repped by United Agents and WME.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.