Who is Paul Mescal? How the Oscar nominated actor found fame, what films is he in, who is his partner and do I watch Aftersun in the UK?

The Oscar nominations are out and there’s a more unfamiliar name amidst the superstars lining up for the best acting – from Colin Farrell and Brendan Fraser to Cate Blanchett and Michelle Williams.

Paul Mescal attends the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2022 at The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.
Paul Mescal attends the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2022 at The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.

Irish actor Paul Mescal has been nominated for an Academy Award for his lead performance in the low budget British film Aftersun, which follows a young father on holiday with his daughter in Turkey.

The film won rave reviews after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, before opening the 2022 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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It caps a remarkable few years for Mescal who was a relatively unknown theatre actor just three years ago.

Here’s everything you need to know about Britain’s latest cinema star.

What is Paul Mescal’s background?

Mescal was born in 1996 in February 1996 in the Irish town of Maynooth – his mother Dearbhla is a Garda officer, while father Paul is a schoolteacher who has acted semi-professionally.

He attended the local school where he excelled at Gaelic football, playing as a defender for Kildare’s under-21 team, but stopped playing due to a jaw injury.

His first role was playing the Phantom at the age of 16 in a school production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. He caught the acting bug and won a place at the Lir Academy at Dublin’s Trinity College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Acting in 2017.

How did Paul Mescal become famous?

After graduating Mescal’s first professional acting role was as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.

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Further critically-acclaimed roles in Dublin theatres followed and in 2018 he made his London debut in The Plough and the Stars.

But it was the 2020 television series ‘Normal People’ that catapaulted him to stardom, playing the role of student Connell Waldron in the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel opposite co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones.

Broadcast during lockdown, it was one of the most talked about series of the year, with Mescal winning the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor along with nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie and the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries.

What other films is Paul Mescal in?

Mescal’s first feature film was 2021 psychological drama ‘The Lost Daughter’ – the directorial debut of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal – which was critically acclaimed and earned acting Oscar nominations for his co-stars Jessie Buckley and Olivia Coleman.

In 2022 Mescal made two other films as well as ‘Aftersun’ – psychological drama ‘God's Creatures’ and a film adaptation of the opera ‘Carmen’.

‘God’s Creatures’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and sees Mescal play a man accused of sexual assault.

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What’s next for Paul Mescal?

Mescal is currently featuring as Stanley Kowalski in a new production of Tennessee Williams’ ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ which is running at London’s Almeida Theatre until February 2023.

He also has three films which are at various stages of production – two adaptations of novels called ‘Foe’ and ‘Strangers’, and Richard Linklater's version of musical ‘Merrily We Roll Along’.

How can I watch Aftersun in the UK?

Aftersun is available to watch now on movie streaming site Mubi.

It costs £9.99 per month but new users can get a seven day free trial period.

Who is Paul Mescal’s partner?

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Mescal has been dating American indie singer Phoebe Bridgers since 2020 and has appeared in the music video for her song ‘Savior Complex’.



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