Normal People’s Paul Mescal talks about being naked on screen

Lauren Clark
·3 min read
The actor opens up about filming sex scenes in the popular BBC series (Getty Images)
The Irish actor opens up about filming sex scenes in the popular BBC series (Getty Images)

Since it first aired late last month, Normal People has been such a lockdown TV hit that character Connell Waldron’s beloved silver chain has received its own Instagram account.

Now, the 24-year-old actor who plays him, Paul Mescal, has opened up about about filming the popular BBC series’ multiple sex scenes.

Speaking to Porter magazine about how he feels knowing that the world has seen him naked, he said: “I’m not concerned about it because I made a choice that this project is something that I’m proud of.

“Well, on paper, that makes sense.”

Read more: Normal People - Connell's chain gets Instagram account

However, Paul - who filmed the show last summer in Dublin and County Sligo - acknowledged ahead of its release that “the closer I’m getting to people seeing me fully nude on screen – it does make me slightly nervous.”

Producers hired an intimacy coordinator, Ita O’Brien, to choreograph the 12-part show’s raunchier moments between him and co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones, who plays Marianne Sheridan.

The Irish star explained: “We would discuss the scene and then Ita would block what we had discussed, so it wasn’t mine or Daisy’s responsibility to decide what was appropriate… You’re told what to do. It’s freeing!”

Although he admits that he was “incredibly nervous” and couldn’t sleep the night before the first one they had to film.

Read more: Study finds consensual non-monogamy in relationships is a ‘healthy’ option

Paul, who had previously only appeared on stage, agreed that the chemistry between him and Daisy was “innate”, adding: “Even if we had rehearsed for five or six months, it’s not something that we could have cultivated.”

The actor is currently isolating alone in a new London flat into which he moved from Ireland just before the UK locked down due to coronavirus.

He squeezed in a trip to IKEA, which he is “grateful” for, and “still [has] little things left to build – things to get frustrated with”, while also going on regular runs and doing virtual press for the show.

It comes after the silver chain his character Connell wears throughout the series has sparked a renewed interest in men’s jewellery.

The glimpses of the necklace on his chest during a football match while at school, in the pool, and on his neck in the intimate scenes between him and Marianne, has not gone unnoticed.

Indeed, an Instagram fan account dedicated to Mescal’s chain, @connelschain, was set up on Saturday (2 May), and already boasts over 15,000 followers.

The necklace was mentioned in Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel, of the same name and upon which the series is based.

It was gifted by Paul to Daisy after filming wrapped, however she has unfortunately misplaced the prop since.