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Josh O’Connor and Paul Mescal to Star in Period Love Story ‘The History of Sound’

Oliver Hermanus will direct

“The Crown” star Josh O’Connor and “Normal People’s” Paul Mescal will star together in a love story and romance set during World War I called “The History of Sound.”

Oliver Hermanus (“Beauty,” “Moffie”) will direct the feature film that tells the story of two young men during the WWI period who set out to record the lives, voices and music of their countrymen. But in this short-lived moment of their lives as they travel across the U.S., both men are deeply changed.

“The History of Sound” is based off a short story of the same name by Ben Shattuck, and the story previously won a Pushcart Prize.

Andrew Kortschak and Lisa Ciuffetti are producing for banner End Cue alongside Andrea Roa. CAA Media Finance will handle sales in the U.S., and Embankment will introduce it to international buyers at next week’s American Film Market. Film4 is co-financing production.

Principal photography will begin in summer 2022, predominantly in the U.S. and on location in the UK and Italy.

“I instantly fell in love with Ben Shattuck’s flawlessly beautiful short story and knew I had to be involved in its journey to the screen,” Hermanus said in a statement. “Paul and Josh are two of the most promising actors of their generation who will share with us deeply soulful performances. This is an unexpected love story that needs to be told – it is a journey through the life of America, across the 20th century and the traditions of American folk music, all seen through the bond between two men immersed in the history of sound. This undeniably powerful story will certainly resonate with audiences the world over.” 

“Working with Oliver, Ben, Paul and Josh is an immense privilege. We are all struck by Ben’s beautiful and resonant short story, exploring love, loss and memory. We are beyond excited to adapt this story for the screen with this incredible team,” Kortschak said.

“Ben Shattuck beautifully combines the epic and intimate minutiae of ‘life’, capturing the freedom and truth of human instinct and its conflict with expectation. ‘The History of Sound’ gives us so much to experience and take home,” Embankment’s Tim Haslam said.

In addition to winning an Emmy for his work on “The Crown,” O’Connor recently starred in “Mothering Sunday” alongside Olivia Colman and Colin Firth. He’ll next be seen in “Aisha” with Letitia Wright and “Lee” alongside Kate Winslet and Jude Law.

Mescal is the breakout star of “Normal People” alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones, and he also recently starred alongside Olivia Colman in “The Lost Daughter.” Next up for him is Benjamin Millepied’s adaptation of “Carmen” and “God’s Creatures” for A24, both of which are in post-production.

Mescal is represented by CAA and Curtis Brown Group Ltd. O’Connor is repped by CAA and Independent Talent. Oliver Hermanus is repped by Independent Talent, and Ben Shattuck is repped by WME.