Paul Mescal is in fighting shape to bring the brawn to dark opera “Carmen.”
The Oscar nominee stars alongside “Scream VI” breakout Melissa Barrera in the modern update to the beloved opera. Helmed by Benjamin Millepied of “Black Swan” choreography fame, the film debuted at 2022 TIFF.
“The Revenant” scribe Alexander Dinelaris, “Girl, Interrupted” writer Lisa Loomer, and Loïc Barrere collaborated on the script. Barrera plays the title character, with Elsa Pataky and Rossy de Palma also starring. Emmy-winning composer Nicholas Britell (“Succession”) pens the score.
Per the official synopsis, “Carmen” follows a young and fiercely independent woman who is forced to flee her home in the Mexican desert following the brutal murder of her mother, another strong and mysterious woman. Carmen (Barrera) survives a terrifying and dangerous illegal border crossing into the US, only to be confronted by a lawless volunteer border guard who cold-bloodedly murders two other immigrants in her group. When the border guard and his patrol partner, Aidan (Mescal) — a Marine with PTSD — become embroiled in a deadly standoff, Carmen and Aidan are forced to escape together. They make their way north toward Los Angeles in search of Carmen’s mother’s best friend, the mercurial Masilda (De Palma) and owner of La Sombra nightclub, a sanctuary of music and dance. Carmen and Aidan find both solace and their unwavering love for each other in the safety of Masilda’s magical refuge, but time is running out as the police hunt closes in.
IndieWire’s David Ehrlich applauded the dedication of both Mescal and Barrera, writing, “When ‘Carmen’ puts its two leads together, anything seems possible. Mescal may not be a trained dancer, but he’s too good of an actor for that to matter; he moves with the kind of militaristic physicality the way that an ex-soldier would, exuding a strength that gets transformed into love right before our eyes. A moonlit ballet between Aidan and Carmen finds this singular movie at its absolute best: A vivid expression of self-belonging in a cruel and hostile world that encourages people to take flight while hopelessly depriving them of any place to land.”
“Carmen” premieres in select markets April 21 from Sony Pictures Classics, followed by a national release in May 2023. Check out the teaser below.
To see all of Mescal’s upcoming roles, click here.
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