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2023 was awash with leading queer men (finally), from Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal in the psychological ghost story All of Us Strangers and Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer in toe-sucking drama Fellow Travelers. Luke Evans also teamed up with Billy Porter in Our Son to represent the realities of queer divorce and then featured alongside Dan Levy in the emotional drama Good Grief. (Check out our best queer films of 2023 here.)

Thankfully, more queer male characters will lead projects this year with the likes of Desire Lines, Problemista and I Saw The TV Glow. One of the most anticipated new films, however, is The History of Sound. The queer romance drama, adapted from Ben Shattuck’s titular novel, had pulses racing when Mescal and God’s Own Country star Josh O’Connor were cast as the leads back in 2021. (We can understand why. We suffered the same fate.)

From cast members to the plot, here’s a recap of everything that we know so far about The History of Sound.

What’s the plot?

The History of Sound is based on the Pushcart Prize-winning novel by Ben Shattuck, a collection of 12 short stories that are set across three centuries and explores the generational patterns of love and loss. Each following story provides a revelation of the previous entrant.

The title story follows two young men in the shadows of WWI who are determined to record the lives, voices and music of their American countrymen. Lionel (Mescal) and David (O’Connor) begin to log the events, whilst falling in love in the process.

The adaptation is being directed by Oliver Hermanus and produced by Tim Haslam, Andrew Kortschac, Lisa Ciuffetti and Andrea Roa. Hermanus is best known for his Queer Palm Award-winning romance Beauty (2011). He also serves as the director and executive producer of Sky Atlantic’s upcoming historical queer series Mary & George, which stars Oscar winner Julianne Moore and Red, White & Royal Blue’s Nicholas Galitzine.

Kortschak told The Hollywood Reporter that it was “an immense privilege” to work with the confirmed cast members, as well as Shattuck and Hermanus: “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.”

Who is in the cast?

The only two cast members confirmed for The History of Sound are Mescal and O’Connor.

O’Connor memorably starred in the critically-acclaimed same-sex romantic drama God’s Own Country. The heartfelt love story develops when a Yorkshire farmer’s (O’Connor) life changes with the arrival of a Romanian migrant farm hand named Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu). Despite initial tension, the two soon become engaged in a passionate meet in nature.

Mescal, who rose to fame in BBC’s Normal People, recently starred in Andrew Haigh’s psychological adaptation of Japanese ghost story All of Us Strangers opposite Andrew Scott. The film follows Adam (Scott), a screenwriter who is pulled back into his childhood home “where he discovers that his long-dead parents are both living and look the same age as the day they died over 30 years ago”. At the same time, Adam falls in love with his “mysterious” neighbour Harry.

In an interview with Variety at the time of the cast announcement, Hermanus opened up about the powerful love story and working with Mescal and O’Connor.

“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. Paul and Josh are two of the most promising actors of their generation who will share with us deeply soulful performances,” he said.

“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.”

Has filming started?

The film had been slated to begin filming in summer 2022, across the US, UK and Italy. However, Mescal revealed in a May 2022 interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the film was on pause due to conflicting schedules.

“But the learning for me is that I’m just dying to make films with people I like, and Josh is one of those people that I would work with in a heartbeat,” he shared.

On 11 January 2024, FilmUpdates posted that the film was due to begin filming in March, this year.

When will it be released?

The History is Sound is speculated to be released in 2025, according to MUBI.