Metro Weekly

Josh O’Connor and Paul Mescal will play gay lovers in “The History of Sound”

Upcoming romance drama is based on Ben Shattuck's short story of the same name

Paul Mescal, Josh O'Connor, history of sound, gay
Paul Mescal and Josh O’Connor — Images via Emmys.com

The Crown star Josh O’Connor and Normal People’s Paul Mescal will play gay in upcoming historical romance film The History of Sound.

Adapted from Ben Shattuck’s short story of the same name, The History of Sound follows Lionel (Mescal) and David (O’Connor) as they embark on a journey across the U.S. to record the lives, voices and music of their compatriots during World War I.

“In this snatched, short-lived moment in their young lives, and while discovering the epic sweep of the US, both men are deeply changed,” the film’s official synopsis says.

Oliver Hermanus (Moffie) said in a statement obtained by Variety that he “instantly fell in love” with Shattuck’s “flawlessly beautiful short story” after reading it.

“This is an unexpected love story that needs to be told — it is a journey through the life of America, across the 20th century and the traditions of American folk music, all seen through the bond between two men immersed in the history of sound,” Hermanus said. “This undeniably powerful story will certainly resonate with audiences the world over.”

Andrew Kortschak, one of the producers of the film, said, “We are all struck by Ben’s beautiful and resonant short story, exploring love, loss and memory. We are beyond excited to adapt this story for the screen with this incredible team.”

Hermanus praised O’Connor and Mescal as “two of the most promising actors of their generation who will share with us deeply soulful performances,” although he didn’t comment on potential controversy over casting straight actors in gay roles — something of a hot button topic in Hollywood at the moment.

O’Connor previously won critical acclaim for his breakout performance as a gay sheep farmer in God’s Own Country, and took home an Emmy Award earlier this year for his starring role as Prince Charles in Netflix’s The Crown.

Mescal was Emmy-nominated and won a BAFTA Award for his role in breakout BBC miniseries Normal People. He recently made his feature film debut in The Lost Daughter, alongside Olivia Colman.

Shooting on is expected to begin in the U.S. next year, with additional shooting in the U.K. and Italy.

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