Paul Mescal Replaces Lead in 20-Year Project


Paul Mescal has replaced Blake Jenner in Richard Linklater’s decade-spanning Merrily We Roll Along, according to a recent report from Above the Line.

The report (which was also confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter) notes that Jenner had filmed some scenes for the film —which is based on Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s 1981 musical, which itself is based on a 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart — but was replaced shortly after joining after domestic violence allegations surfaced against him his ex-wife Melissa Benoist (Supergirl).

These reports surfaced in November 2019, and while Jenner did acknowledge them in an Instagram post in 2020, his time with the film had seemingly already come to an end.

The project, which is set to shoot over a 20-year span (similar to what Linklater did with Boyhood, which shot over 12 years), will now see Mescal (Aftersun) step into the lead role of Broadway composer Franklin Shephard. Mescal will star alongside the previously announced cast of Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt. The film was originally announced back in 2019 and had finished its first segment of filming, so it’s unclear just how Mescal will fit in thanks to the film’s production style.

For Mescal, this is yet another large role in a career that is quickly becoming much bigger. After starring in Aftersun to rave reviews, Mescal was most recently cast in Ridley Scott’s upcoming Gladiator sequel. Beyond that, he’ll star in Garth Davis’ upcoming film Foe alongside Saoirse Ronan, as well as in Andrew Haigh’s Strangers.

Merrily We Roll Along, which was initially based on the 1934 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, follows Franklin Shepard, a talented Broadway composer who abandons his theater career in New York and all his friends in order to produce movies in Los Angeles. Like the play, the musical begins at the height of his Hollywood fame and moves backward in time, showing snapshots of the most important moments in Frank’s life that shaped the man he is today.



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