The upcoming film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Merrily We Roll Along has chosen a new Franklin Shepard: Normal People star Paul Mescal.
Mescal is stepping in to replace Glee alum Blake Jenner. After admitting in 2020 to abusing a former partner both physically and emotionally, Jenner has largely been absent from the industry.
Mescal joins the previously cast Ben Platt as composer Charley Kringas and fellow Broadway alum Beanie Feldstein as writer Mary.
According to Variety, Mescal has already filmed a segment of the film. Based on comments made by Platt last year, this likely indicates that Mescal has caught up with what Platt and Beanie Feldstein have already filmed.
Best known for his film work, Mescal is no stranger to the stage. He has previously appeared in productions of The Great Gatsby, The Red Shoes, Asking for It, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore on Irish stages. He is currently starring as Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire at London's Almeida Theatre.
Announced in 2019, Merrily We Roll Along is being directed for the screen by Richard Linklater. Like Linklater's Boyhood, the film is being shot over decades so that its actors can be captured in their characters' authentic ages throughout the plot, which spans more than 20 years. Originally produced on Broadway in 1981 with a book by Furth and a score by Sondheim, the work famously travels backwards in time to navigate the bumpy history of three friends who start their careers in show business together, meaning the first scenes shot will become the film's final moments.
Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez are currently starring in an Off-Broadway revival of the musical at New York Theatre Workshop. The production has already announced a Broadway transfer for this fall.
The musical was celebrated in the documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened. Lonny Price, who co-starred as lyricist Charley Kringas in the original production, directed and co-produced the film, which features interviews with Sondheim, director Hal Prince, and Price's original co-stars, Ann Morrison and Jim Walton.