Normal People stars Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones as a couple navigating their complex relationship through adulthood

By Eric Todisco
August 27, 2020 01:44 PM
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The creators and stars of Hulu's hit drama Normal People are sharing the process behind those very intimate scenes between leads Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal.

During a panel discussion at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Wednesday, series director Lenny Abrahamson said that the attraction between Edgar-Jones, 22, and Mescal, 24, was "something that we had to get right."

“It was something that had to be thought through very carefully," said Abrahamson, according to Variety. "I think one of the principles that we all shared among the creative bunch of people that made the show was to try to not distinguish the intimacy scenes from the rest of the drama, and not to go into ‘sex scene’ mode. Make sure what we were doing in those scenes deepened the understanding of the characters and what was occurring between them.”

Normal People, based on Sally Rooney's 2018 original novel, explores the romantic relationship between Marianne Sheridan (Edgar-Jones) and Connell Waldron (Mescal) as they navigate adulthood.

Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones
Enda Bowe/Hulu

Abrahamson said that while there was "initial awkwardness" in the nude scenes between Edgar-Jones and Mescal, it "became creatively satisfying."

“A lot of that awkwardness that would normally attend the entire process of shooting scenes like that in a conventional approach, a lot of that just went away," he shared.

Mescal, whose performance has earned him an Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actor in a limited series, said that the idea of shooting the intimate scenes was "far more anxious" than the actual filming.

“There’s an awkward 10 minutes when you’re like, okay, I have to be relatively naked in front of a group of strangers… from an actor’s perspective you’ve got to treat that the same way you would a scene where you’re speaking to each other," he said.

Normal People
Enda Bowe/Hulu

Edgar-Jones said that she was also proud of her and Mescal's performances. "If you’re trying to tell the truth about a relationship, you have to also include the truth of what that means in terms of intimacy," she said.

"Having a sense of why certain scenes are happening and what is being communicated meant that we could just approach them like we would approach any dialogue scene," the actress added. "It became about the story."

Normal People is streaming on Hulu.