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Image / Living / Culture

Paul Mescal and ‘The Crown’s’ Josh O’Connor to star in new LGBT romance movie


By Sarah Finnan
01st Nov 2021
Paul Mescal and ‘The Crown’s’ Josh O’Connor to star in new LGBT romance movie

Paul Mescal and Josh O'Connor will star in a new World War I romance called ‘The History of Sound’.

While some actors often run the risk of being typecast a certain way, Paul Mescal looks unlikely to go down that route and already has quite a diverse variety of roles under his belt. Shooting to almost overnight stardom for his portrayal of Connell Waldron in Normal People, he’s been in hot demand ever since and it’s clear that the hype shows no signs of dying down yet either. 

Capturing the world’s attention with his awkward yet passionate take on the male protagonist of Sally Rooney’s hit novel, it’s been a strange rise to fame for the Kildare native who went from “nobody” to “international man of interest” during lockdown last year. 

Impressing with his ability to tackle such a broad range of themes and emotions, Mescal has landed many subsequent parts off the back of his Normal People success – including, but not limited to, a cameo in a Rolling Stones music video, a starring role in a modern-day take on the 19th-century opera Carmen and even a feature alongside Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s psychological drama The Lost Daughter.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Mescal is a man that seems to thrive off of being busy and his latest project will see him flaunt his acting chops yet again. Keen to prove he’s much more than a one-trick pony, he’ll team up with The Crown star Josh O’Connor for a new LGBT movie set during World War I. 

Titled The History of Sound,  it’s billed as a “universal love story” in which the actors will play two gay men – Mescal will step up to the plate as Lionel while O’Connor will take on the role of David as they “set out across America to record the lives, voices and music of their countrymen during WWI”. Based on a short story of the same name by writer Ben Shattuck (available to read online here), he’s adapting his story specifically for the film… and if it’s anything like the original piece, things are going to get steamy. 

“I instantly fell in love with Ben Shattuck’s flawlessly beautiful short story and knew I had to be involved in its journey to the screen,” director Oliver Hermanus said in a statement. “Paul and Josh are two of the most promising actors of their generation who will share with us deeply soulful performances. This is an unexpected love story that needs to be told – it is a journey through the life of America, across the 20th century and the traditions of American folk music, all seen through the bond between two men immersed in the history of sound. This undeniably powerful story will certainly resonate with audiences the world over.”

Famed for his work in bringing powerful LGBTQI+ stories to the fore, Hermanus has previously won the Queer Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival for his movie Beauty, while his 2019 film Moffie, about a soldier concealing his sexuality while serving in South Africa, was also nominated for a BAFTA. Even O’Connor, though probably best known for playing Prince Charles on The Crown, had his first breakthrough role in another queer drama – Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country. 

Work on The History of Sound is due to go into production next summer with filming to take place across parts of the US, UK and Italy.