Emily Henry Winks About Ayo Edebiri and Paul Mescal’s Rumored ‘Beach Read’ Casting: ‘Two of My Favorite Irish Actors’

Emily Henry fans had a field day last week when the author shared a St. Patrick’s day selfie of “The Bear” star Ayo Edebiri and “Normal People’s” Paul Mescal.

While Edebiri posted the original image to her Instagram, it was reposts from Henry and screenwriter Yulin Kuang that made fans start to assume that the actors may have been cast in one of the films being adapted from Henry’s romance books: “People We Meet on Vacation,” for which Kuang is writing the screenplay; “Beach Read,” with Kuang writing and directing; or “Book Lovers,” being developed by the company that produced Mescal’s “Aftersun.”

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The posts came just months after Mescal said in an interview that he hoped to star in a rom-com with Edebiri sometime in the next five years.

“I can’t confirm or deny anything with casting for any movie. I will say that those are two of my favorite ‘Irish’ actors,” Henry told Variety. (Mescal is Irish; Edebiri is not — but the internet likes to joke that she is thanks to a running gag she keeps up.)

But Henry has clearly spent some time imagining them as one of the couples she’s written.

When asked if she thinks Edebiri and Mescal would be a good fit for any of the films, Henry said, “I do. I think that they would be amazing. I actually saw them being discussed [online] for several different roles — and I definitely have a favorite. But it’s fun, because different adaptations would either have one of them playing to type, or one of those adaptations would have them both playing to type, and one of them would have them both playing against type. It’s an interesting thing. I mean, they’re great, they could do anything.”

Scripts for “Beach Read,” “People We Meet on Vacation” and “Book Lovers” have yet to be completed, but Henry says she hopes “there’ll be stuff to talk about really soon.”

For now, she says that “Beach Read” — perhaps fans’ frontrunner to include Mescal and Edebiri — already has a “fantastic” first draft. The story follows January Andrews, a successful romance novel writer who is struggling after the death of her father and the discovery that he was having an affair, who ends up moving in to the beach house next door to Augustus Everett, her former rival in college and now an acclaimed literary fiction author.

“It’s so different than I would have thought to approach it. It feels like a big swing, which I am all about because I think the worst thing that a movie can be is boring and mediocre. If we’re doing this, let’s really go for it,” Henry says. “Yulin is working on the the next draft now, and it should be ready to do more with very soon. It feels really different and special.”

Henry adds that the “People We Meet on Vacation” screenplay “has gone through a lot of different drafts,” but because Kuang’s own debut novel comes out next month, new drafts for both “People We Meet” and “Beach Read” should “be ready very soon because she needs to get them off her plate.” She also adds that she speaks with “People We Meet” director Brett Haley “at least weekly” about the project.

Then there’s the “Book Lovers” movie, for which Henry says a draft by writer Sarah Heyward is now in the “fine-tuning” stage.

About potential screen adaptations of her 2023 novel “Happy Place” or “Funny Story,” which releases on April 23, Henry only shared that she hopes to have details “really soon” and that she’s open to exploring television instead of film: “I’m doing my Lucille Bluth wink,” she jokes.

While Henry says she suspects that all three of her current film adaptations will be “very different” from each other, she does hope tp create a signature aesthetic across the board — much like the cohesive cover design across all five of her books.

“Something that I have stressed with all of my producers and directors is the need for a very distinct sense of coziness in the actual setting,” Henry says. “The characters can still be messy, the conflicts can still happen, but setting and sets are so important and are often what make me want to rewatch something again and again. Nancy Meyers’ writing and directing is lovely, but her sets are what make you want to be inside of that movie. Same thing with Nora Ephron — it’s Nora Ephron’s New York, not quite real New York, and it feels so magical and aesthetic. When you have that feeling of the first nip of fall, you want to watch ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ That’s something they all know I’m really big on.”

“I trust the directors that we have, and I think that they really get it,” she continues. “They also know that I’m always watching my readers and I want them to be happy. So in my involvement in every single adaptation, my main goal is to represent the readers’ interests.”

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