Culture / Film

Ready for Paul Mescal’s next film? You’ll have to wait 20 years

merrily we roll along paul mescal

On January 23, Paul Mescal went on The Louis Theroux Podcastwhere among other things, they discussed the actor's career trajectory and hopes for the future. Mescal, who is guaranteed a permanent role on Hollywood's list of heartthrobs, doesn't want to insulate himself from reality or become jaded. Rarely do we hear actors speak so candidly about their fears, but maybe it's because Mescal is encountering these problems while working with Richard Linklater on the director's latest project.

Early in 2024, it was reported Mescal would replace Blake Jenner in Linklater's adaptation of Merrily We Roll Along, which also stars Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt. The movie, which is based off the Stephen Sondheim musical, which in turn is an adaptation of a Broadway play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, is unique in that it will be filmed over a 20-year period. That means we'll get to see Paul Mescal mature before us on the silver screen. Like fine wine, I say.

What is the plot?

Merrily We Roll Along charts three friends across two decades as they each pursue showbiz careers. Mescal plays Franklin, the creative partner to Ben Platt's Charley, who eventually ditches Charley to become a hotshot Hollywood producer. Meanwhile, Feldstein stars as the pair's good friend and theatre critic Mary. But there's a twist. The story is famously told in reverse, opening with Mary reproaching Franklin for becoming a sell out. It winds back to the early days of the trios friendship, when they were all fresh-faced and hopeful.

Those familiar with Linklater's work, including films like Boyhood and the well-wrought Before trilogy, will be accustomed to the genre, which tracks characters over a long period, recording the actors as they age in real time. Needless to say, it's a huge undertaking for any actor. But if we've learned anything from Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke's on screen chemistry, the pay off is absolutely worth it.

Is there a release date?

Babe, you're going to be waiting a long time. RUSSH will be forty, I'll hopefully be hitched to Paul and, I pray, still alive. But who knows, maybe we'll get some preview stills in a decade just to remind us that the project is still happening? See you at the finish line, I'll be the one with the grey hair.

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