“My version of Connell totally slots into Daisy’s Marianne,” says Normal People’s Paul Mescal.
Normal People was, and remains, one of 2020’s most talked-about TV shows. Adapted from Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name, it deals spectacularly with themes of mental health, of friendship, of love, and of consent.
It also, of course, is one of the sexiest shows to ever air on the BBC: think full-frontal nudity, unhurried sex, raw desire, relatable bedroom mishaps, and casual conversations about condoms.
Is it any wonder, then, that Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones – who portray Connell and Marianne respectively – have been catapulted to fame? That social media is awash with fans who ‘ship’ – as in, support a relationship between – the actors IRL? That so many want to know the secret to their “instant chemistry” on set?
It will no doubt interest many to know, then, that Mescal – in a new interview – has opened up about how he and Edgar-Jones prepared for their roles together.
Speaking to Backstage Cast over Zoom, a recording of which has been shared on Instagram, Mescal smiled when he was asked whether he and Edgar-Jones undertook any special chemistry workshops before filming commenced.
“We didn’t spend a huge amount of time together [beforehand],” he said. “We spent the guts of two weeks… [and] spent time with [director] Lenny Abrahamson rehearsing the scenes.
“It was a nice gentle time of talking and creating a playlist for the characters. It just felt like a really normal two weeks.”
Mescal went on to explain that “it can be detrimental to force chemistry onto people.”
“The production team weren’t like, ‘You go off and get to know each other,’” he said. “But there was an understanding, I don’t know where it came from, that me and Daisy would fundamentally get on.”
And, as all Normal People fans will attest, this tactic worked wonders.
“My version of Connell totally slots into Daisy’s Marianne,” Mescal added.
The Normal People co-stars will, of course, reunite for two special episodes.
As previously reported by Stylist, the two new episodes, titled Older Normal People, will air as part of RTÉ Does Comic Relief in Ireland on 26 June.
Instead of imagining what happened straight after the end of the original BBC series, these episodes will catch up with Marianne and Connell some 40 years after the show finished.
While we have little idea as to what to expect from the sketches, Mescal and Edgar-Jones previously revealed their hopes for their characters.
Speaking on The One Show, Edgar-Jones said: “I hope that they remain that level of settled and happy that they get to by the end of the series.
“It’s wonderful that Marianne enables him to follow his dream as a writer in New York, so I really hope he sticks at it and carries on doing what he loves.”
She added: “I kind of imagine that [Marianne] moves in with Lorraine [Connell’s mum] and they have quite a happy, little life together!”
Mescal, in a separate interview, added that he, too, believes the couple found a way to make their relationship work.
“They’re still existing in the world somewhere,” he said.
You can find out more about Normal People season two here.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.