The rumbling you may have heard earlier today was just the collective reaction to a particularly buzzy bit of casting news pertaining to two of the UK’s most widely pined-after heartthrobs, pooling their dreaminess in a joint project for the first time. Any confusion about why fans of Paul Mescal and Josh O’Connor have been gasping for air over the past few hours — that will be why.
The actors have signed on to costar in the upcoming film The History of Sound, an adaptation of Ben Shattuck’s award-winning short story of the same name. To further sweeten the deal, they’ll be directed by Oliver Hermanus, the South African filmmaker last seen at the helm of the Angolan apartheid picture Moffie and currently hard at work on his Ikiru quasi-remake Living.
The History of Sound follows Lionel (Mescal) and David (O’Connor), a pair of young men who set out across America circa World War I on an anthropological mission, of sorts: they decide to create a record of the “lives, voices, and music of their countrymen,” as the Variety item breaking the news put it. While they roam the countryside and the global conflict rages elsewhere, the men find a tender love with one another, bound to culminate in a hushed and tender sex scene sure to make many a teenage girl’s brain instantaneously liquefy.
While the pedigree of the talent involved cannot be denied, it’s a bit odd that a team with such distinct roots in the UK would be tapped for a project so oriented around Americana. We’ve yet to even hear Mescal’s American accent, and fans of Hermanus will wonder how he’ll take to the transplant as well.
First, he’ll have to complete production on Living, with principal photography not commencing until summer of 2022. (The Variety item mentions that Hermanus will shoot locations in the UK and Italy as well, suggesting that the war may not be so far from the idyll enjoyed by the two men after all.) But when it does, it’ll undoubtedly be the most spied-upon set since Timothée Chalamet donned Young Wonka’s top hat.
Published 29 Oct 2021
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