Saoirse Ronan talks 'awkward' On Chesil Beach bedroom scenes

Billy Howle has admitted that it was "fortuitous" to team up with his The Seagull co-star Saoirse Ronan for On Chesil Beach.

Saoirse Ronan felt free to "try anything" while shooting bedroom scenes in On Chesil Beach because she had played Billy Howle's partner onscreen before.

The multiple Oscar nominee plays Florence Ponting, who has just become the wife of Edward Mayhew, played by Billy, in the movie adaptation of Ian McEwan's novella.

In the film, set in 1962, the young couple have rented a hotel room near Chesil Beach and Edward is determined to consummate the marriage while Florence is terrified at the prospect, and this issue will have devastating consequences for the relationship.

Many days were spent shooting the awkward bedroom sequence, but luckily for Saoirse, she had worked with Billy before, on The Seagull, so they felt comfortable in each other's company.

"Because we had to depend on each other so much, the fact that we knew how the other one worked already, we had that rapport, really, really helped, especially when it came to the scenes on the bed, we shot that for days and days," she said during a London Q&A session. "It's really important to feel like you could try anything and make it as awkward as possible. The only reason I felt like I could do that was because we had already spent so much time together."

Saoirse and Billy play partners in The Seagull, an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's play, and they lived together for three weeks while they shot the movie in 2015, a year and a half before On Chesil Beach.

"It was very fortuitous that Saoirse and I had a previous bond and had built that relationship," Billy agreed. "It was very important that we were able to trust one another and to give each other the space and the creative freedom and the respect for each other's working methods that were necessary to actually make those quite potentially awkward scenes, in reality, come through and make them as authentic as Ian's original portrayal."

Both On Chesil Beach and The Seagull hit cinemas from May (18).

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