Breakout stars of 2021: Paul Mescal, Simu Liu, more

Breakout Moment: Dublin’s Gate Theatre can claim credit for discovering the actor, but the BBC/Hulu adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People — streamed more than 62 million times in the U.K. alone — made Paul Mescal, 25, a household heartthrob.

Lessons From Quarantine: Alone time, especially in Sydney, where he’s prepping for a film shoot, tested Mescal — “I lost my mind a lot” — and offered the chance to deepen his résumé. “Seeing everybody learning new skills, I was like, ‘Jesus, I’ve got to do something,'” says the actor. “So I bought a nice guitar and I’m learning now.”

2020 Highlight: “To see the final figure [of Normal People‘s reach] was quite amazing,” says Mescal. “[As was] working hard with people that you adore, achieving the things you dreamed up in your head.”

When the World Is Back to Normal: You’ll find Mescal at the pub: “I can’t

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