Stage and film star Mallory Bechtel has joined the cast of the upcoming Merrily We Roll Along movie musical, according to a report in Deadline. The Dear Evan Hansen star joins a previously announced cast including Ben Platt as writer Charley Kringas, Paul Mescal as composer Frank Shepard, and Beanie Feldstein as writer Mary. Bechtel's character has not been revealed.
Announced in 2019, Merrily We Roll Along is being directed for the screen by Richard Linklater. Like Linklater's Boyhood, the film is being shot over decades so that its actors can be captured in their characters' authentic ages throughout the plot, which spans more than 20 years. Originally produced on Broadway in 1981 with a book by Furth and a score by Sondheim, the work famously travels backwards in time to navigate the bumpy history of three friends who start their careers in show business together, meaning the first scenes shot will become the film's final moments.
The film has already overcome one hurdle that saw the role of Frank, originally announced to be played by Glee star Blake Jenner, replaced after filming began. Mescal stepped in following Jenner's 2020 admission to abusing a former partner both physically and emotionally. Jenner has largely been absent from the industry ever since.
The screen version of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical is not connected to its current Broadway revival, now running at the Hudson Theatre starring Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez.
The musical was celebrated in the documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened. Lonny Price, who co-starred as lyricist Charley Kringas in the original production, directed and co-produced the film, which features interviews with Sondheim, director Hal Prince, and Price's original co-stars, Ann Morrison and Jim Walton.