All of Us Strangers’ Claire Foy shares vital message for parents of LGBTQ+ kids
Claire Foy has shared a message for parents of LGBTQ+ children while speaking to PinkNews about what it was like to play a prejudiced mother in Andrew Haigh’s new LGBTQ+ drama All of Us Strangers.
Loosely based on Taichi Yamada’s 1987 novel Strangers, All of Us Strangers stars Fleabag’s Andrew Scott as Adam, a queer, depressed writer in his mid-forties who ventures back to his childhood home after trying to write about his parents. While there, he reunites with the ghostly apparitions of his mother (Claire Foy) and father (Jamie Bell), who died when he was 12.
In the weeks that follow, Adam gets to have heart-wrenching conversations with the two ghosts about his life now, including coming out to them as gay.
While Foy’s portrayal of the mum is brimming with warmth and tenderness, the character is at first shocked to hear of her son’s sexuality, worrying intently about whether he might contract Aids, as the crisis was at its height at the time she died.
In one comic line, she questions whether her son should be open about his sexuality “on the high street, at WH Smith,” afraid he will be attacked.
“A lot of the time, as a parent myself, I do understand how difficult it is to not see that your child is basically a criticism [of] you as a human being, and understanding you don’t own your kids and your kids will be whoever they’re going to be,” Foy told PinkNews.
The Crown star believes that her character’s opinion of homosexuality comes from a place of fear.
“The hardest thing for a parent is giving [your children] away to the world because the world can be an incredibly cruel and dangerous place for [the] beloved little thing that you’ve created.
“I think it does all come from love and it also does come from fear – fear of what you don’t understand and fear of somehow that you are not right.”
Foy urged those who do not accept their children for whatever reason to look inward, and shared her hope that All of Us Strangers highlights how our time on Earth is finite, and shouldn’t be spent judging others.
“One of the greatest things I’ve learned as a person is that often the criticisms and judgments you have of other people, you need to repeat back to yourself because they’re the things you’re most afraid of in yourself.
“Hopefully, the film will just teach people that life’s too short to be confused by one another. Just ask and be told, and listen and understand. Then [we’d] get there a lot quicker.”
Although she handles the quietly poignant role delicately, Foy admitted she was concerned about being able to step into the role of a mother with discriminatory views, however ‘well-intentioned’ they are.
“There was a small, at the back of my brain, concern about how honestly we were portraying it, I suppose,” she said, “but at the same time, we had to be brave about not trying to soften the reality of what that conversation would be like.
“I think [her character] is very much stuck in a period of time and you have to have compassion for the understanding that at that time, what she was being fed was a particular view of what it was to be a gay man in the world and the risks that came with [it].”
Foy’s character would have been alive during Thatcher’s time as prime minister; an era full of intense homophobia and disinformation regarding the LGBTQ+ community.
“I definitely felt we had to honour that, because it seemed so important that history is understood, and not try to make it modern in any way,” Foy added.
She had crucial conversations with director Haigh and co-star Scott about making sure the relationship was being depicted in a way that reflected the reality for gay men.
“I felt I was there to support Adam’s character come to some sort of conclusion with his parents, and you have to go through those difficult moments to get to the end of the story.
“I loved her as a character… I feel as if she’d been given that education [and] given the opportunity to grow up with her son, if she was a parent of a 46-year-old gay son, she would be an amazing mother and would love it – and probably love it a bit too much.”
All of Us Strangers opens in UK cinemas on Friday (26 January).
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