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Movies & TV

25th Jan 2024

British outlet calls out ‘sham actor’ Paul Mescal in ruthless take-down

Stephen Porzio


Mescal has come under fire in a new column for comments he made about Gladiator 2 and the added fame it could bring him.

Irish actor Paul Mescal is among several performers who have come under criticism in a column in British publication The Spectator this week.

Titled ‘The rise of the sham actors’, the article was penned by writer Julie Burchill with her using the word “sham” as shorthand for “slamming hams”.

By this, Burchill refers to actors who either complain about their own projects or about being famous.

According to the writer, Mescal meets this criteria due to his recent comments about his upcoming sequel Gladiator 2 and the added celebrity it could bring him.

British outlet calls out ‘sham actor’ Paul Mescal in ruthless take-down

The Maynooth man has expressed some discomfort with being in the spotlight already and stated in an interview with the Times that if he becomes any more famous, he will “be in a bad spot”.

Explaining his lack of interest in the celebrity life, he told the publication: “Then you’d see yourself as somehow different and I don’t want to do that.

“I’d just get too f***ing bored. I don’t want to close myself off to going out and meeting someone in a bar, or getting drunk at a party. That would turn me into a boring human. It would be dangerous to start wrapping yourself in cotton wool and not be out in the world, through fear.”

Writing about his comments, Burchill said:

“I’d have reckoned that young actors might be more appreciative of fame and fortune, but 27-year-old Paul Mescal has recently said that he would be ‘profoundly depressed’ if his leading role in the upcoming Gladiator 2 makes him globally famous.

“You’d think that someone who had an agent even before he graduated from drama school and has worked ever since – including showing off his bum a lot on the BBC – would be prepared for the consequences of rampant ambition, but there’s nowt so queer as theatrical folk.”


Paul Mescal in Aftersun, which earned him an Oscar nomination

Other actors that come under fire in the piece are Daniel Craig and Hugh Grant, with Burchill highlighting their lack of enthusiasm in promoting certain movies.

As for why the writer is frustrated with this type of behaviour, she explained:

“The acting profession has a whopping 85 per cent unemployment rate; by snapping up plum jobs while despising the work, successful actors who don’t need the money could be said to be harming fellow actors desperate for both.”

Burchill also added:

“Snootiness from a few actors will possibly make audiences feel less kindly towards all actors when it comes to the question of AI in entertainment… Actors who openly slam their own work – and in doing so show contempt for those who pay to see it – cannot be helping the situation.”

You can read the full column in The Spectator right here:

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Paul Mescal