Paul Mescal Tells Natalie Portman About How Sex Scenes Can Be "Healing"

"How much time do you spend thinking about the Roman Empire?"

Paul Mescal and Natalie Portman
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This year's "Actors on Actors" series by Variety has been filled with some excellent pairings, including Barbenheimer's Cillian Murphey and Margot Robbie. The latest interview is between Natalie Portman and Paul Mescal, where they dive into some juicy topics.

Mescal is keen to discuss Portman's latest film, May December, which is gathering a lot of attention and Oscar buzz. In return, Portman brings up the topic of the intimate scenes in Mescal's latest film, All of Us Strangers.

All of Us Strangers stars Mescal and Andrew Scott, and is a British romantic fantasy film, based on the 1987 novel, Strangers, by Taichi Yamada. It features a romance between Mescal and Scott, and some hot and heavy scenes that have got the internet all flustered.

Portman notes how the sex scenes "were very hot but also very tender. Why do we see that so rarely, and particularly for same-sex relationships?"

Mescal thoughtfully answers, "Andrew Scott’s character, Adam, who is in his mid-40s, has a difficult relationship to sex. My character serves as a safe landing space for him to re-explore his sexuality. I think sex in film, when it can be healing and sexy at the same time, that’s when it’s at its best."

Through the years, we have seen countless powerful performances by Mescal, and intimate scenes that feel so real and vulnerable. I have no doubt that his performance in All of Us Strangers will evoke the same healing energy, and contribute towards the queer representation we need in films.

The actors then discuss Portman's sex scene with Charles Melton in May December and the contrasting coldness of it. Mescal admits that the cruelty of her character got to him, and says, "My stomach dropped."

Portman then proves she is as chronically online as the rest of us, as she asks Mescal, "How much time do you spend thinking about the Roman Empire?"

Mescal answers honestly that he thinks about it, "All day, every day."

Unfortunately, this is in reference to the new film he is currently shooting, Gladiator. The rest of mankind doesn't have this excuse to be thinking about the Roman Empire so much!

Fleurine Tideman
Freelance Writer

Fleurine Tideman is a freelance writer who is always ready to discuss celebrities, entertainment, mental health, relationships and anything else her busy brain comes up with. She comes from the small, rainy land of the Netherlands, but she uses the flexibility of her work to travel around Europe and explore new places. She spent several years working in the travel industry, which taught her how to fit insane amounts in her hand luggage. She has a degree in Psychology and Anthropology, which she uses to psychoanalyse herself and others. She’s a regular contributor for Betches, and you can also find her work on Pop Sugar, Insider, Time Out or her own blog, Symptoms of Living. At Marie Claire, she’ll be covering celebrity news, usually written to the sounds of Taylor Swift.