The Oscar-nominated actress stars opposite Liam Neeson in the new film, which earned excellent reviews out of its festival premiere last fall

By David Canfield
February 13, 2020 at 10:00 AM EST

Lesley Manville has learned not to take her work home with her. But while filming Ordinary Love, a wrenching romantic drama costarring Liam Neeson, she wasn’t exactly unaffected, either.

“Going to dark places doesn’t scare me,” Manville told EW last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere. “That is not to say that when I’m in the moment and doing these difficult scenes — of which there are many in Ordinary Love — that it doesn’t touch me or affect me and take its toll.”

The film, directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn (Good Vibrations), centers on long-married couple Joan (Manville) and Tom (Neeson), whose stable lives are rocked when Joan discovers a lump in her breast. As it soon becomes clear that cancer will radically change each of them and their relationship, Joan begins medical treatment, forcing the pair to confront truths about their relationship that had long stayed hidden. Out of its Toronto debut, Ordinary Love earned strong reviews, with particular praise going the way of its two leading actors.

For Barros D’Sa and Leyburn, getting to work with such acclaimed actors made for the most immediate draw. “It’s not often that you get to work with your dream cast,” Barros D’Sa says. “It felt like the makings of a real classic cinematic pairing.”

And while the material gets heavy at times, Manville says she and Neeson always found a way to keep things light. “We were shooting in Belfast, most days with a pint of Guinness,” she cracks. “Everything was fine after that!”

Watch the full video from TIFF above. Ordinary Love hits select theaters on Valentine’s Day.

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