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30th Apr 2020

“We felt safe and supported” – Paul Mescal on filming Normal People sex scenes

Sarah Finnan

Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal has given his two cents on filming Normal People’s sex scenes and whether Connell and Marianne end up together.

*This post may contain spoilers… 

Normal People made its world premiere this week, hitting TV screens across the UK, Ireland and the USA. Based on the popular Sally Rooney novel of the same name, audiences have been frothing at the mouth in anticipation for the series and so far, it hasn’t disappointed.

Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal as Marianne, fans have been particularly impressed with the series’ depiction of topics such as bullying, consent, relationships, domestic abuse, love and sex.

Speaking to American magazine, The Cut, Paul Mescal has weighed in on what filming Normal People was actually like… in particular the sex scenes, of which there are plenty. According to him, filming the more intimate scenes was “really quite positive”.

“Me and Daisy felt safe, and ultimately, if you don’t feel safe, the scene is going to suffer because you’d have two incredibly self-conscious individuals fumbling around trying to get the scene right… And I felt supported by Ita O’Brien, the intimacy coordinator.”

As for how the sex scenes helped to serve the story? Well, they make up a large part of the novel itself so it would be pretty difficult to omit them. For anyone who may not have read the book (tut-tut), as the series reflects the plot of the novel sticking to the storyline very closely as it follows the complicated relationship of the two main characters.

The key to nailing the aesthetic, as Paul puts it, is to “allow the characters to be in the scene as they would any other scene… you need certain scenes to look sexy and other scenes to look awkward and negotiated.”

Of course, knowing that a large majority of your peers will have seen you naked isn’t the most comforting thought but Paul’s taking it in his stride, laughing off the embarrassing screenshots as they’re ultimately out of his control.

And the question that’s on everyone’s lips? What happens with Marianne and Connell? Like any other fan around the world, Paul has his own version of what he thinks the future holds for the two.

“I absolutely think that the find their way back to each other. I’m aware that the ending is ambiguous, but I do think they find their way back to each other.

Does it happen simply? Probably not. I’d be just desperately upset to know that those two have that connection and that they aren’t together – that would literally drive me mad.”

Us too, Paul. Us too.

Normal People will return to RTE One next Tuesday night. We’re already counting down the days.

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