Paul Mescal replaces Blake Jenner in Richard Linklater’s Merrily We Roll Along movie

Paul Mescal has already filmed a sequence for the musical.

Paul Mescal has replaced Blake Jenner in Richard Linklater’s 20-year movie project Merrily We Roll Along.

The Aftersun actor has been tapped to star alongside Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein in the 20-year movie adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s stage musical, according to Above the Line.

The Normal People actor has taken over the role of Franklin Shepard, a Broadway composer who abandons his friends and career in New York to make movies in Hollywood. Like the play, the musical is told in reverse chronological order, beginning with Frank at the height of his fame and ending with the trio as young hopefuls.

Platt will play Charley, Frank’s creative partner and lyricist, while Feldstein will portray his best friend and theatre critic Mary Flynn.

Linklater announced the project in 2019, with Jenner, Platt, and Feldstein as the leading trio. The Glee actor shot scenes for the movie but exited the project months later after his ex-wife, actor Melissa Benoist, accused him of domestic violence.

Linklater intends to film Merrily We Roll Along over 20 years, similar to the way he shot his 2014 movie Boyhood over 12 years.

Platt revealed in an interview with Collider in November that they had already filmed one sequence and would film another in 2023.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done, or will ever do,” he said. “You have to continue to live your life, and we’re talking 17 more years. To keep thinking about it as this one long runway is just not conducive, in any way. We shot one sequence of it, and we’ll shoot another sequence next year. When we get to it next year, I’ll be treating it as a wonderful few weeks making a little short film that I’m doing with Beanie and Rick, and just trying to take it one chapter at a time.”

According to Variety, Mescal has already shot a sequence for the film. It is unclear if the trio reshot the whole chapter together or if Mescal’s footage will be edited with Platt and Feldstein’s from 2019.

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