Paul Mescal on the gossip about his love life: It’s indecent. And it’s unkind

Paul Mescal was hard at work on Gladiator 2 when SAG-AFTRA called their strike, so the production is on hiatus for now. That’s my way of saying that Mescal’s Bazaar cover and interview was done pre-strike, because there are references in the piece to Mescal currently filming. Mescal was Oscar-nominated this year for Aftersun, a tiny little art film which felt like someone’s MFA project. He’s so in-demand right now though, and pre-strike, he was booked and busy on stage and for back-to-back film roles. I guess this piece was supposed to be promotion for Foe, where he stars alongside Saoirse Ronan. Some highlights from Bazaar:

He loves short-shorts: “This is thrilling to me. I love it. Where’s my favorite pair?” he asks, nearly knocking over his chair to find them. “I don’t know how I would go about my summer if I didn’t have these. I don’t do well in the heat,” he says, holding up a black pair with three white stripes down each side. They’re O’Neills, an Irish brand of Gaelic football shorts, he tells me. ‘[O’Neills] are going to get great f-ckin’ airtime out of this.”

On the interest in his love life: “If I’m going to make TV shows like Normal People, there’s going to be an appetite from the world. Eighty percent of that is palatable. And then 20 percent of it is devastating.”

The gossip-reporting about his breakup with Phoebe Bridgers: “The stuff that hurts is the personal stuff. It’s nobody else’s business and should never be commented on because it’s indecent. And it’s unkind. Honest answer, it makes me angry. … It’s the entitlement to the information that people expect that just drives me f–king mad.”

He’s not online & he’s not hustling side-gigs: He seems wary of its artifice. He hasn’t tweeted since 2020 and has no other public-facing social-media accounts, no liquor line to shill, no “brand” he’s intent on building. After attending drama school at the Lir Academy in Dublin, he worked in theater for two years, partly because he found auditioning for on-screen roles to be “mortifying. I didn’t buy into what I was having to say. I remember auditioning for some TV show. It was like a two-line self-audition. I was going in for some f–ing ridiculous dialogue.”

He loves being in love: “The feeling of being in a relationship and being in love, to me, sometimes can feel quite like a horse with blinders on. That’s such a wonderful feeling. The work in this film was finding out what it’s like to be in a tired relationship. That’s not a sensation I’m familiar with.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

“It’s nobody else’s business and should never be commented on because it’s indecent. And it’s unkind.” I love when men get all indignant like that, I really do. Because, well, usually the women are getting those questions and sighing as they recite the diplomatic line fed to them by their publicist. His method of refusing to say anything about Phoebe and their breakup is good though – he’s suffocating the speculation and gossip. Which, to be fair, is easy to do because their split wasn’t some massive tabloid story. It was mostly a big deal to their fans online, on social media. It would be different if he just broke up with Angelina Jolie, I’m just saying.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, cover courtesy of Bazaar.

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