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Paul Mescal Worries About ‘Regretting Choices’ He Makes for ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ Over Its 20-Year Production

Paul Mescal is ready to face his next two decades alongside director Richard Linklater.

Mescal is starring in Linklater’s adaptation of “Merrily We Roll Along,” which will be filmed over 20 years, similar to how Linklater shot coming-of-age movie “Boyhood.” The film is an adaptation of the beloved Stephen Sondheim musical, which itself was an adaptation of a Broadway play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

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“Merrily We Roll Along” follows three friends pursuing careers in the entertainment industry and how their lives change as they age; the story is famously told in reverse chronological order. Mescal is cast as composer Franklin Shepard, with Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein playing the other two friend characters.

“I think I’m going to spend the next 20 years regretting choices that I made in some sequences,” Mescal told Esquire UK, “and then forgetting about others and being like, ‘Oh, fuck! We shot that in 2035!’ That’s crazy.”

Mescal noted that he is not nervous about what lies ahead with his many upcoming projects, saying, “No, I think I’m comfortable with it. I have no idea where I’m going to be. Hopefully still fucking alive. I don’t know.”

Director Linklater told IndieWire that he believes filming “Merrily We Roll Along” will be more difficult than “Boyhood,” which was shot from 2002 to 2013 and starred Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

“They’re very different, just using the same longitudinal storytelling technique. They’re just such different stories. But also, ‘Boyhood’ was every year like a time-lapse, but ‘Merrily’ is like nine times shooting in 20 years, so there’s a two-year gap between each time shoot,” Linklater said. “Sometimes, two years in a row, but the schedule is all over the map.”

In the meantime while shooting “Merrily We Roll Along,” Oscar-nominated star Mescal is leading Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” sequel, plus starring in Garth Davis’ “Foe” and Andrew Haigh’s “All of Us Strangers.”

Mescal told IndieWire that he hopes to keep making indie films throughout his career.

“Indie cinema is where I want to live and be. So to be in the middle of that is something that I take great pride in,” Mescal said, citing the success of “Aftersun” adding, “It’s just important to remind ourselves that the reason that is happening is because people still want to go see independent cinema.”

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