Inside Paul Mescal's incredible rise to success
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Featured Image Credit: BBC/A24
Actor Paul Mescal has gone from being a 'normal person' to an Oscar nominee in just two short years.
Having been nominated for his first Oscar in the coming of age film, Aftersun (2022), the much-loved Irish actor is setting hearts aflutter again after he first appeared in the romantic drama, Normal People.
The adaptation of the beloved Sally Rooney novel propelled Mescal into the spotlight, with the tear-jerking series followed teenagers Marianne and Connell as they tried to move past their first love.
Alongside his co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones, Mescal received huge critical praise and even won his first Bafta for his role.
But where did this incredible rise to fame begin?
Having found fame during the 2020 pandemic, Mescal found it hard to adjust to his new celebrity status and has spoken candidly about this.
“There’s a pressure that comes with people knowing what you look like, where you live and who you are hanging out with. You learn to live with that shift,” he told Irish newspaper Sunday World.
“Ultimately, it has been phenomenal.”
Whilst many think Mescal’s big break came from the hit BBC series, he actually had been appearing on stage for over three years before being cast.
It began when he was studying at the prestigious drama school, The Lir Academy, where the heartthrob caught the eye of agents before he even graduated.
He would go on to have roles in stage adaptations of The Great Gatsby, The Red Shoes and the satire The Lieutenant of Inishmore before being cast in the hit series.
Despite this, acting wasn’t Mescal’s first career choice, even with a dad who was a semi-professional actor.
While growing up in Maynooth, the star was the eldest of three siblings and had a promising career as a Gaelic footballer as a child.
His trainer, Cian O’Neill, even described young Mescal as 'mature beyond his years ... very developed and very strong'.
Much like his Normal People character Connell though, Mescal would have to give up his dream of becoming an athlete after suffering from a jaw injury.
The taut Netflix film follows Leda, played by Coleman, as she reflects on her motherhood and becomes obsessed with other guests on a remote Greek island.
As well as more intense roles, music-loving Mescal has also appeared in several videos for The Rolling Stones and ex-girlfriend Phoebe Bridgers.
Though his career has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years, the down-to-earth actor is still yet to feel secure with his new-found fame.
Upon hearing about his Oscar nomination this week for his role in Aftersun, the actor called it ‘bananas’ in a sweet statement about his potential award.
“This is truly a special moment for everyone involved in Aftersun. To be recognised by the Academy is such an insane honour and I’m so utterly grateful,” he told press.
“I want to dedicate this nomination to my two friends Charlotte [Wells, director] and Frankie [Corio, co-star] who I love dearly! This is bananas, thank you!”
Though the award is expected to be given to actor Brendan Fraser for his role in The Whale, it definitely won’t be the last we hear from Mescal.
The star has recently been cast in Ridley Scott’s epic Gladiator 2, which is a sequel to the iconic 2000 film starring Russell Crowe.
Filming has begun in Malta, with the film likely to gain Oscar nods upon its release, which could be as early as 2024.