Paul Mescal wants to be more than a ‘token Irish hunk’

Actor Paul Mescal has spoken about his fears of typecasting, saying that he hopes to be seen as more than just a “token Irish hunk” in future roles.

Mescal, who has been lusted after ever since his appearance in the TV adaptation of Normal People in 2020, made the comments ahead of the release of All of Us Strangers.

Co-starring Andrew Scott, the new film depicts one man’s chance encounter with his mysterious neighbour. The pair develop a relationship, and he’s enticed back to his childhood home 30 years after the death of his parents.

“Hopefully, people now actually say: ‘He’s not here to just be the token Irish hunk’. If you want a progressive male, sad character, I’m your guy,” Mescal told The Sunday Times.

His role in the All of Us Strangers taught him vital lessons about navigating masculinity, the star added.

“We are still navigating, as men, how to be vulnerable. Time and time again, men are told vulnerability is weakness and not what society requires of them, so it’s difficult to reach out for help.

“There is a version of masculinity that is toxic and ruined the world for the longest time and will continue to do so unless it’s put in check.”

But, he went on to say, changing that outlook isn’t going to be easy, and there are a lot of painful conversations to be had.

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Paul Mescal (L) and Andrew Scott (R) in All of Us Strangers.
Paul Mescal (L) stars alongside Andrew Scott in All of Us Strangers. (Searchlight Pictures)

Fans have already taken to social media to react to the film – and their thirst for the two leading men.

“If you’re lonely and gay, All of Us Strangers feels like being shot in the chest after receiving the best hug of your life,” one fan wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Another said: “Watched All of Us Strangers and cried so hard my head now hurts.”

And third social media user asked: “How has anyone emotionally recovered from seeing All of Us Strangers?”

Mescal has previously spoken about the film’s sex scenes, revealing in December that playing Scott’s lover is one of the “greatest honours” of his career.

“To play love is such a great privilege, and to do it with Andrew Scott, who’s the king of playing love. It’s just innate in his being both as an actor and as a human,” Mescal told Black Swan star Natalie Portman as part of Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series.

“All I can talk about is my experience with filming those scenes. Andrew Scott’s character, Adam, who is in his mid-40s, has a difficult relationship to sex.

“My character serves as a safe landing space for him to re-explore his sexuality. I think sex in film, when it can be healing and sexy at the same time, that’s when it’s at its best.”