From Normal People on screen to an Oscar-worthy performance in Aftersun, Paul Mescal has become a household name in just three years.
The 26-year-old Irish actor rose to fame after playing understated heartthrob Connell Waldron in the BBC lock-up hit, which was originally written by Sally Rooney.
What began as humble beginnings grew into a global sensation and the catalyst for Paul-Mania around the world.
First his character’s silver chain sparked its own hysteria, then the actor booked gigs left and right as the trip to Hollywood grew shorter and shorter.
The star received a Best Actor nomination for his performance in the movie Aftersun and had audiences roaring as they watched his character Calum explore a relationship with his daughter Sophie.
Ahead of the Kildare native’s Oscar debut, let’s connect the dots and follow his meteoric rise to fame one dizzying scene at a time.
life in the spotlight
Paul graduated from Lir Academy, Trinity College Dublin in 2017 and appeared in a number of plays and theater productions in the Irish capital before landing his breakthrough role in 2020.
After graduating from university, the Maynooth native played the title role in The Great Gatsby and appeared as the Prince in a stage production of The Red Shoes at Dublin’s Gate Theatre.
In 2018, the award-winning actor swapped the stage for television and starred in a sausage brand commercial.
In the infomercial, Paul indulged in the breakfast favorite before being inspired to pack his bags and travel.
A breakthrough in 2020 – Normal people
Paul’s introduction to the spotlight came after he starred alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones in the heartbreaking Irish love story that gripped the world during the first pandemic lockdown.
The phenomenon was adapted for television from Irish author Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel, set in her home country.
Paul, who was praised for his portrayal of Connell, played the role of a college student struggling through a situation ship with a childhood friend.
Smile all the way to the Emmys
After a stellar year, the fresh face received an Emmy Award nomination.
He was featured in Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, but lost to Mark Ruffalo for his performance in I Know This Much Is True.
At the time, the Normal People actor’s co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones posted sweet congratulations on social media, saying: “I couldn’t be more proud of these two absolutely amazing people, working with you both is one of my greatest joys in life.”
Paul Mescal x Dermot Kennedy
The star changed scripts for heights and surprised everyone when he performed a virtual show with Irish singer Dermot Kennedy in June 2020.
The pair put on an intimate show at London’s Natural History Museum.
A thrilling performance in The Deceived
The rising face has rolled into his next standout acting showcase, landing a role on Channel 5’s The Deceived.
Playing a volunteer firefighter called Sean, Paul starred alongside Hollyoaks and Peaky Blinders actor Emmett J. Scanlan, Belgravia’s Emily Reid and Derry Girls’ Ian McElhinney.
The Oscars and beyond with Aftersun
In just three short years, Paul secured a coveted Oscar nomination for his performance in the dark film Aftersun, directed by Charlotte Wells.
Set in the early 2000s, the drama tells the story of an 11-year-old Scottish girl who goes on holiday to a Turkish resort with her father (Paul) on the eve of her 31st birthday.
It was announced on Tuesday that Paul will compete against fellow countryman Colin Farrell for his role in The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis star Austin Butler, Brendan Fraser for The Whale and Living’s Bill Nighy – for the golden statue.
It is hoped that the young star’s post-sun success will be repeated in his latest project God’s Creatures, in which Paul returns to his homeland with Emily Watson and Aisling Franciosi.
The film, which focuses on mysteries and is set in a quaint Irish fishing village, was shot in Co Donegal and screened at the Cannes Film Festival last May.