Theatre News

Ben Platt reveals details for 19-year ”Merrily We Roll Along” film and discusses Paul Mescal’s casting

Paul Mescal and Ben Platt
Paul Mescal and Ben Platt
© Kevin Kunze, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons, David Gordon
It may be almost two decades away from completion, but the hype train trundles on for the new Merrily We Roll Along film, based on the hit musical.

Told reverse-chronologically by a cast led by Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen), Paul Mescal (Normal People) and Beanie Feldstein (Funny Girl), Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s piece charts the decaying relationship between artists and writers who started out their careers as firm friends. It is directed by Richard Linklater, who intends to shoot the film in real-time (albeit in reverse) over the course of 19 years or so.

“We shot the first sequence,” Platt explained at Sundance while promoting his new film Theater Camp to Variety, “The film is structured that it’s nine different sequences over 18 years, so we’ll see how we do. We’ve done the first one and the next one is coming this year. It’s wonderful.”

Merrily We Roll Along has become a firm musical favourite, despite spending years in theatre ignonimy following a very short-lived Broadway stint. Numbers include “Old Friends,” “Not a Day Goes By,” and “Our Time.”

It recently returned to New York in a Broadway-bound production led by Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez, which picked up rave reviews during its off-Broadway run. The revival was first seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory before transferring to the West End.

Platt raves about the composer and lyricist: “Sondheim is the ultimate god of the theatre, so to get the opportunity to do a beautiful short film of Sondheim is wonderful, especially with Beanie who is a dear friend and Paul [Mescal, who was announced in the film earlier this month] who is just one of our greatest screen talents…I’m hoping we can make it to the finish line.”

Platt discussed the film exclusively with WhatsOnStage in 2019 – watch his thoughts here:

Mescal is currently on stage in London in a critically lauded revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Rebecca Frecknall (who has a knack for transferring successful shows into the West End).

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