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Two of the brightest rising stars in the industry are teaming up for the first time.
Josh O’Connor, who landed an Emmy for his portrayal of Prince Charles in the Netflix’s The Crown, and Paul Mescal, who broke out in the hit BBC/Hulu miniseries Normal People and won a BAFTA for his turn as Connell Waldren, are set to star in The History of Sound, which could be a hot package up for grabs at next week’s American Film Market.
The film — announced by production company End Cue — is described as a “universal love story” to be directed by Oliver Hermanus, winner of the Queer Palm in 2011 for Beauty and behind this year’s critically lauded BAFTA-nominated LGBT drama Moffie. The film will be adapted by Ben Shattuck from his own Pushcart Prize-winning short story of the same name.
The story follows two young men, Lionel (Mescal) and David (O’Connor), who, during the WWI period, set out to record the lives, voices and music of their countrymen. In this snatched, short-lived moment in their young lives, and while discovering the epic sweep of the USA, both men are deeply changed.
“I instantly fell in love with Ben Shattuck’s flawlessly beautiful short story and knew I had to be involved in its journey to the screen,” said Hermanus. “Paul and Josh are two of the most promising actors of their generation who will share with us deeply soulful performances. 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. This undeniably powerful story will certainly resonate with audiences the world over.”
The History of Sound is being produced by End Cue’s Andrew Kortschak (Cop Car, The Art of Self-Defense) and Lisa Ciuffetti (The Clovehitch Killer, The Art of Self-Defense) alongside Andrea Roa (It Comes at Night). CAA Media Finance will handle sales in the U.S. while Embankment will introduce it to international buyers ahead of the AFM. Film4 are co-financing production. Principal photography will commence in summer 2022, predominantly in the U.S. and on location in the U.K. and Italy.
“Working with Oliver, Ben, Paul and Josh is an immense privilege,” said Kortschak. “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.”
Embankment’s Tim Haslam added: “Ben Shattuck beautifully combines the epic and intimate minutiae of ‘life’, capturing the freedom and truth of human instinct and its conflict with expectation. The History of Sound gives us so much to experience and take home.”
O’Connor — who also landed three BAFTA nominations for The Crown — appeared in Cannes-bowing Mothering Sunday, and will next be seen in Frank Berry’s Aisha with Letitia Wright and Lee alongside Kate Winslet and Jude Law. Mescal recently starred in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Venice-premiering The Lost Daughter and has the forthcoming Benjamin Millepied adaptation of Carmen and God’s Creatures for A24, which are both in post-production, coming up.
Mescal is represented by CAA and Curtis Brown Group Ltd. O’Connor is repped by CAA and Independent Talent. Oliver Hermanus is repped by Independent Talent and Ben Shattuck is repped by WME.
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