January 31, 2023


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Paul Mescal replaces Blake Jenner in ‘Merrily We Roll Along’

2 min read

Richard Linklater’s feature film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and George Firth’s musical “Merrily We Roll Along,” stars “Aftersun” and “Normal People” Paul Mescal in the lead role of Broadway composer Franklin Shepard, replacing original star Billa. Genre.

Mescal joins Ben Platt, who plays Charlie, Franklin’s creative partner and songwriter, and Benny Feldstein, who plays the pair’s good friend, theater critic Mary. The story tracks the trio’s friendship as Franklin abandons Charlie and Mary to become a successful Hollywood film producer – the twist is that the story is told in reverse chronological order, with Mary accusing Franklin of being a sell-out and ending 20 years earlier. Characters as hopeful new faces.

diversity Confirmed that Mescal has already shot a segment for the film

Linklater originally announced the project in 2019, with Platt, Feldstein and Jenner set for the lead roles, and an ambitious plan to shoot the film over 20 years, similar to Linklater’s 2014 film “Boyhood.” Ginger Sledge, Jason Bloom, Jonathan Mark Sherman, Mike Blizzard and Linklater are producing.

“I first saw, and fell in love with, ‘Marilyn’ in the ’80s, and I can’t think of a better place to spend the next 20 years than in the world of Sondheim musicals,” Linklater said at the time. “I do not enter into this many-year experience lightly, but judging this story on film seems the best, perhaps the only, way.”

Just over a year later, Jenner admitted in an Instagram post that she physically and emotionally abused an ex-partner; Jenner did not name him, but in late 2019, his ex-wife, actor Melissa Benoist, posted a (since deleted) video on Instagram in which she said she was a survivor of domestic violence. Since Jenner’s post, the actor has only appeared in one project, the straight-to-VOD thriller “Paradise City” with John Travolta and Bruce Willis.

In April 2022, Platt said that Linklater had shot the “first sequence” for “Merrily We Roll Along” (technically, the last sequence), which was also reported in 2019. But it’s unclear whether Linklater started from scratch entirely, preserving Platt and Feldstein’s performances from the 2019 reshoot of Genre while preserving footage with Mescal, or inventing some other filmmaking technique.

Mescal’s star exploded in 2020 when she appeared opposite Daisy Edgar-Jones in the Hulu limited series “Normal People,” adapted from Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel. His performance as a young father in the 2022 indie feature “Aftersun” earned him widespread acclaim and an awards season run.

Above the Line is the first Mescal to introduce the genre.

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