Born In: Maynooth, Ireland
Irish film, stage, and TV actor Paul Mescal is best known for his Academy Award- and BAFTA-nominated performance as Calum Paterson in the 2022 movie Aftersun. He initially shot to fame with his BAFTA TV Award-winning and Primetime Emmy Award-nominated role of Connell Waldron in the BBC Three and Hulu miniseries Normal People. A talented defender in his younger days, he quit his promising Gaelic football career due to an injury and focused on acting soon after. An alumnus of The Lir Academy, he has, over the years, made a name for himself in the Dublin stage circle, too. Mescal won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Stanley Kowalski in a 2022 production of the play A Streetcar Named Desire. He once dated American singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers and appeared in one of her music videos, too. He is all set to appear in a string of promising movies, including the upcoming sequel to the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator.
siblings: Donnacha, Nell
Born Country: Ireland
Notable Alumni: The Lir Academy
education: The Lir Academy, Trinity College Dublin
Paul Mescal was born on February 2, 1996, in Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. His mother, Dearbhla, was an officer for the national police service of Ireland, Garda, and his father, Paul, was a schoolteacher and a semi-professional actor.
Mescal had 2 younger siblings, a brother named Donnacha and a sister named Nell. Nell grew up to be a singer.
Mescal initially attended the Maynooth Post Primary School. He also represented Kildare in minor and under-21 Gaelic football and was part of the Maynooth GAA club.
He was a talented defender. However, a jaw injury forced him to give up his sports career. He was 16 when he made his stage debut with the titular role of Phantom in a production of the musical The Phantom of the Opera.
He later joined The Lir National Academy at Trinity College Dublin. In 2017, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in acting.
Paul Mescal’s first known role was in an episode of the 2019 TV series Bump. He then bagged the iconic role of Connell Waldron in the 2020 BBC Three and Hulu Irish romantic psychological drama series Normal People. The series was based on Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel of the same name.
Mescal’s character, Connell, was a gifted athlete and an academically brilliant student, who later wooed classmate Marianne (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones). During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, memes of Connell’s chain necklace went viral on the internet.
This role not only won Mescal a British Academy Television Award (BAFTA TV Award) for Best Actor and a Gold Derby TV Award for Breakthrough Performer of the Year, but also helped him earn nominations for a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
The same year (2020), he was awarded the GQ Men of the Year Award for Hugo Boss Breakthrough Actor. He also played firefighter Sean McKeogh in the Channel 5 miniseries The Deceived (2020) and appeared as Cian in the short film Drifting (2020).
In 2021, he appeared as Will in the psychological drama film The Lost Daughter. In 2022, he was seen in yet another path-breaking role of his career in the coming-of-age drama Aftersun. The movie had Mescal playing a depressed father, Calum Paterson, who tries to plan a vacation for his daughter (Frankie Coiro).
The role earned him his first Academy Award (for Best Actor) nomination. It also fetched him a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The movie was based on the relationship between writer-director Charlotte Wells and her late father and made it to the Best of 2022 lists of many critics. The same year, Mescal appeared in the psychological drama God's Creatures and the musical drama Carmen.
Paul Mescal is all set to appear in several upcoming movies, such as the dystopian sci-fi thriller Foe, based on Iain Reid’s novel of the same name. He will also be seen in the upcoming British fantasy drama Strangers, based on a novel by Taichi Yamada, and in Richard Linklater’s version of Stephen Sondheim’s musical comedy Merrily We Roll Along.
However, his biggest upcoming project is perhaps the sequel to the 2000 blockbuster film Gladiator, which will star Mescal as Joaquin Phoenix’s grown-up nephew. The Ridley Scott movie will be set 20 years after happenings of the first Gladiator movie.
Mescal has had an illustrious career on stage, too. He played Jay Gatsby in a production of The Great Gatsby at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in 2017; Demetrius in a 2018 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the at Kilkenny Arts Festival; Stephen Dedalus in a 2018 version of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man at the Dublin Theatre Festival; Mad Padraic in a 2020 version of The Lieutenant of Inishmore at Gaiety Theatre, Dublin; and Stanley Kowalski in a West End production of A Streetcar Named Desire (2022-2023). His performance in A Streetcar Named Desire earned him a Laurence Olivier Award.
Paul Mescal once appeared in a commercial for the sausage company Denny. The commercial became popular and Mescal earned the nickname Sausage Paul. He has also been featured in music videos of tracks such as Scarlet by the Rolling Stones and Savior Complex by his former girlfriend, Phoebe Bridgers.
In 2020, tabloids reported that Paul Mescal had been dating American singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers. The duo confirmed their relationship in November 2021, when they attended the 2021 LACMA Art + Film Gala together. The couple split in December 2022.
Mescal is fluent in the Irish native language, Gaeilge. In 2020, Mescal moved from Ireland to London. In 2022, he revealed that he had bought a property in Ireland, where he wished to spend his leisure time.
He has also been open about his mental health and once spoke about seeing a therapist. Mescal is also a talented pianist and has played covers with his sister, Nell. He has also sung and performed spoken word at the London Natural History Museum with Irish singer Dermot Kennedy. He was also part of a virtual stage reading of Kenneth Lonergan’s play This Is Our Youth in 2020.
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