After a stratospheric rise post-Normal People and a surprise (though thoroughly well-deserved) Oscar nomination for his deeply moving turn in Charlotte Wells’s Aftersun, Paul Mescal appears to be choosing his next roles with caution—and is, by all accounts, on a mission to work with every other incredibly talented Irish actor going. To wit: We’ll soon be seeing him opposite fellow Academy Award nominee Jessie Buckley in Chloé Zhao’s swooning adaptation of Hamnet, and alongside the Hot Priest himself, Andrew Scott, in the surreal gay romance All of Us Strangers. But the seemingly-inevitable-yet-still-withheld pairing that Ireland and the world have been waiting for? Paul plus national treasure and four-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan.
Now, we’re finally getting our wish: Mescal and Ronan are teaming up with Australian auteur Garth Davis (Lion, Mary Magdalene) for an unbelievably tense apocalyptic thriller about a crumbling marriage, set against the backdrop of a rapidly decaying planet. Titled Foe, and based on Iain Reid’s novel of the same name—the author of the disorientating psychological horror I’m Thinking of Ending Things—it centers on Junior and Henrietta, a couple living in a rural farmhouse four decades into the future. Their lives are upended by the arrival of Terrance (The Underground Railroad’s dashing Aaron Pierre), a stranger who claims to be working with the government, and offers Junior the opportunity to pilot a space program that could help the inhabitants of Earth find a new home. Junior is reluctant to leave his wife behind, but Henrietta seems almost eager to have a break from him. As Terrance interviews them, they slowly open up to him, unfurling painful confessions and shocking secrets.