Paul Mescal has been cast as the youthful William Shakespeare in a film adaptation of Maggie O’Farrell’s book Hamnet, which will be directed by Chloé Zhao.
The movie is not connected to the stage production of Lolita Chakrabarti, which has had successful runs in Stratford-upon-Avon and the West End. Instead, it will be written by Zhao and O’Farrell.
Mescal and Jessie Buckley will co-star as Shakespeare’s spouse, Anne Hathaway (known as Agnes in the novel), in a story that delves into the couple’s grief over the death of their 11-year-old son from the plague.
Mescal recently spoke with Vogue to discuss his latest movie, All of Us Strangers, and described the novel as “heartbreaking”. He expressed excitement for its release, saying, “If I had told my younger self that I would be filming this year, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Mescal and Buckley both appeared in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s film, The Lost Daughter, but did not have any scenes together. Mescal expressed admiration for Buckley, saying, “I believe she is one of the greatest stars of our time.”
Buckley is shortly to be seen opposite The Lost Daughter’s Olivia Colman in Wicked Little Letters; both she and Mescal are recent Olivier award winners – Buckley for Cabaret and Mescal for A Streetcar Named Desire.
In 2021, Zhao achieved multiple Oscars for her third movie, Nomadland. However, her subsequent film, Eternals, did not receive as much acclaim.
Mescal stated that he is excited to collaborate with Chloé and delve deep into the minds of their characters.