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Image / Living / Culture

Prepare for a Paul Mescal supremacy — 8 upcoming projects from the incredible Irish actor


By Sarah Gill
25th Aug 2023

Amazon Studios

Prepare for a Paul Mescal supremacy — 8 upcoming projects from the incredible Irish actor

They say we all have the same 24 hours in a day, but judging from his slate of upcoming films, Paul Mescal must be absolutely flat out, God love him.

Just over three years since the release of Normal People, Paul Mescal has managed to keep us all in the palm of his hand.

It was April 2020 when the Maynooth native first appeared on our screens in the television adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People, and over the course of twelve 30-minute episodes, we universally fell in love with his portrayal of the achingly introverted Connell Waldron.

Having picked up the title of Best Leading Actor in a Drama Series at the 2021 IFTA Film & Drama Awards, won Best Actor at the British Academy Television Awards, and was nominated for a plethora of other accolades — chiefly that of Best Actor in a Leading Role for his work on Aftersun at the 2023 Oscars — Paul Mescal’s name has rarely been off our lips since.

He wore GAA shorts to Coachella and inadvertently made them a global trend, gave the humble silver chain a new lease of life, and kept us wrapt with his portrayals of complicated, insular men. The 27-year-old has come a long way in a few very short years, and it appears as though the only way is up for Mr. Mescal.

Since we are firm believers in the Paul Mescal supremacy, we’re looking into eight of his upcoming projects, in which he’ll be starring alongside some massive industry names. As one very astute Twitter user said, this Irish actor is working so hard, he simply must be saving up for a deposit on a place in Dublin. Good luck to him.

FOE

Based on the 2018 novel by Ian Reid, Foe is described as a psychological thriller and horror fiction set against a science fiction backdrop. In theatres October 6, the film is directed by Australian filmmaker Garth Davis, who co-wrote the script with Iain Reid, the novel’s author. Aaron Pierre, from 2020’s dramatisation of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, also stars.

Mescal and Ronan play Junior and Henrietta, a young married couple in the not-too-distant future where severe climate change and fires have ruined the landscape. Junior and Henrietta live a solitary life on their farm in North America, until the arrival of Terrance, who informs Junior that he has been randomly selected to travel to an experimental space station programme. Henrietta won’t be left alone though; arrangements have been made for her to be constantly watched by familiar company.

ALL OF US STRANGERS

Fleabag’s hot priest and Mr Mescal star in Andrew Haigh’s new feature, All of Us Strangers, set for cinematic release on December 22. Loosely based on Taichi Yamada’s award-winning ghost story of the same name, the film follows Andrew Scott, in the role of screenwriter Adam, as he experiences a chance encounter with his mysterious neighbour Harry (Mescal) on a quiet night in contemporary London.

Puncturing the rhythm of his everyday life, as the pair grow closer, Adam is pulled back to his childhood home. There he discovers that his long-dead parents are both alive and well, and look the exact same age as the day they died, over 30 years ago. “There was chemistry between the two of them literally the second I saw them together,” Haigh told Vanity Fair. “Both of them were pretty fearless.”

GLADIATOR 2

Starring in the sequel of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Mescal will play the lead character of Lucius, the grown-up son of Lucilla. Starring alongside Denzel Washington and Pedro Pascal, the film is due to be released in November 2024, and though concrete details of the plot have not as of yet been revealed, Gladiator 2 will be drumming up much excitement this time next year.

Speaking to Esquire UK, Mescal said: “I can’t tell you how stressed I am talking about that film in particular, because it’s definitely the biggest one I’ve done … I think it’s really well written and it pays homage to the first one, but it’s very much something that I think I can step into and make comfortably my own.”

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

The film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical, Mescal will be stepping into the lead role of Broadway composer Franklin Shepard, replacing original star Blake Jenner and joining Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein. The story tracks the trio’s disintegrating friendship as Franklin abandons them to become a successful Hollywood film producer — the twist is that the story is told in reverse chronological order, starting with Mary castigating Franklin as a sell-out and ending 20 years earlier with the characters as fresh-faced hopefuls.

HAMNET

Directed by Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao, Mescal and Women Talking’s Jessie Buckley will star in a big screen adaptation of Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet. Giving a rich and moving account of the beginning of Shakespeare’s relationship with his wife, the enchanting Agnes, as well as their son Hamnet’s illness, sudden death and the devastating impact it has on his parents, the film presents the human and heart-stopping story as the backdrop to the creation of Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet.

THE HISTORY OF SOUND

Directed by Oliver Hermanus, The History of Sound is an adaptation of a Pushcart Prize award-winning short story by Ben Shattuck following two young men during WWI, setting out to record the lives, voices and music of their countrymen. Mescal will star alongside The Crown actor and Emmy award-winner, Josh O’Connor.

THE END OF GETTING LOST

Produced by Dakota Johnson and Ro Donnelly under the TeaTime Pictures banner, The End of Getting Lost stars Margaret Qualley and Paul Mescal, and is due for release in February 2024. A Europe-set mystery thriller based on a book from Robin Kirman, the film is set in 1990s, and follows a young married couple, Gina and Duncan, on what Duncan claims is their honeymoon, but after Gina suffers a mysterious accident, the story begins to toggle between past and present — and perspective — to uncover a portrait of love’s power and dangers. As the two hop borders across Europe, their former lives threaten to catch up with them while the truth grows more elusive.

A SPY BY NATURE

Directed by The Mauritanian’s Kevin Macdonald, A Spy by Nature is an adaptation of the first novel in Charles Cumming’s bestselling Alec Milius spy series adapted for the screen by John Hodge of Trainspotting, with the most recent draft by Joseph Charlton. It follows Alec Milius (Mescal), a disillusioned twenty-something whose gift for deception catches the eye of MI6. Caught up in the thrusts of a geopolitical war on commodities involving the British and the Americans, at home he struggles to preserve his relationship with his girlfriend and build a future together. As his web of lies grows, Alec is forced to confront his own nature – whether he can be a good man as well as a good spy.

Featured image via Amazon Studios