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There is no exact formula for how love works, because if there was, well, wouldn’t we all follow it? And that brings us to the forthcoming biopic and completely non-formulaic love story, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (December 29), starring Jamie Bell (Snowpiercer, Billy Elliot) and Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right, Running with Scissors).

The two portray real-life couple, Peter Turner, a struggling young actor, and former Hollywood star Gloria Grahame. They met in the late 1970s while living at the same boarding house in Liverpool, England, and while they might have shared a roof and an industry, there was a bit of an age difference. Turner was around 30 years her junior and just starting his career, while Grahame was grappling with hers ending. Their lives collided by pure chance, and Turner had no idea of her earlier work, turbulent lifestyle and that she’d won an Academy Award.

Our very own Tom Brook swung by the press junket for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, and sat down with both Bell and Bening. According to Bening in the exclusive Anglophenia interview below, while the protagonists’ romance may have begun as a “fling… this relationship deepened in a very surprising way for both of them.” The actors elaborate on what made this couple’s relationship — which Bell calls “unusual, but very pure” — work:

The film is based on Turner’s memoir by the same name, first published 1987 but reissued next week.

We can tell from Brook’s sit-down with the actors, and first look at the film’s footage, that something was drawing Turner and Grahame together, holding them tight…

Are you going to go see the film when it hits theaters on December 29? 

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By Brigid Brown