Paul Mescal to star in new Richard Linklater movie filmed over 20 years

Paul Mescal in Aftersun
(Image credit: A24)

Boyhood director Richard Linklater is returning with another long-term project, and Paul Mescal is taking over as the leading man. 

He'll star in Merrily We Roll Along, a movie based on the 1981 Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name (which in turn is based on the 1934 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart). The story follows Franklin Shepard, a successful Broadway composer, who abandons his friends and career to become a Hollywood producer. The Normal People star replaces Blake Jenner in the role after Jenner was involved in allegations of domestic abuse. 

Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt are also starring in Merrily We Roll Along, which will be filmed over the course of 20 years. The events of the movie will be told in reverse chronological order, beginning at the height of Franklin's Hollywood fame and moving backward in time through key moments in his life. This isn't the director's first long-term project, either – Linklater's 2014 movie Boyhood was filmed over 12 years when lead actor Ellar Coltrane was between the ages of seven and 19. 

As for Mescal, he most recently starred in the critically acclaimed drama Aftersun as young father Calum. His other upcoming projects include sci-fi thriller Foe, Strangers, a fantasy drama co-starring Andre Scott and Claire Foy, and Ridley Scott's forthcoming Gladiator sequel. 

While we wait for Merrily We Roll Along to (eventually) arrive on the big screen, check out our picks of the best upcoming movies on the horizon in 2023 and beyond. 

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.