Rebecca Frecknall said the 1947 drama set in a steamy New Orleans was “a gift of a play” and “an extraordinary piece of writing”.
Brando played Stanley in the original production and film, and his performance has become synonymous with the character. But Frecknall said she wanted to move away from the “performance baggage” involved in the play.
Frecknall said she was “excited” by Mescal as an actor without seeing him in the BBC mini-series based on the Sally Rooney novel.
She said: “The first time I met him I said ‘I haven’t watched your TV series’ because I find the books so emotional and in lockdown when it came out I wasn’t really in a place where I felt I could quite go into that world, so I actually just met him with nothing but him and the play and it turned out it was his favourite play.
“I felt very excited about him as an actor and that part.”