The stars of the twelve-episode series adapted from Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel discuss young love, miscommunications, and the language of tea.
By Anna Russell
Recently, a woman named Mary called into the popular Irish radio show “Liveline” with a complaint about “Normal People,” the television adaptation of Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel by the same name, now airing on Hulu and BBC 3. “I imagine it was like something you’d expect to see in a porno movie, certainly not for family viewing,” Mary told the host. “But anyways, that’s my opinion.” Soon after, the tabloid newspaper the Sun claimed, somewhat breathlessly, that “Normal People” included forty-one minutes of sex scenes, making it “the BBC’s raunchiest drama ever.” In Ireland’s parliament, the tourism minister explained that a promotional video made to encourage fans to visit County Sligo, where much of the show’s filming took place, was “selective” in its use of clips from the episodes. It’s true: the video features majestic shots of Ben Bulben, a flat-topped rock formation which dominates the landscape, but no nakedness. Continue reading →
Normal People’s treatment of nudity and sex is a gateway to so much more .
By Abby Robinson
Sally Rooney’s hand is felt throughout Normal People, the BBC Three and Hulu co-production based on her critically acclaimed novel of the same name. The characters move and breathe as they do in all 266 pages of the book, the story of Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) as captivating on screen as it in Rooney’s written word.
Even if you didn’t know that the Irish writer was an executive producer or co-wrote six episodes – Edgar-Jones described her as “very involved” and “overseeing everything” to Digital Spy and other press – you’d know anyway, because it shows.
Normal People is beautiful. It sweeps you up in its arms, capturing the very essence of the book – that all-encompassing love between Marianne and Connell that transcends the physical, the pair fascinated by the way each thinks and how they see the world.
It’s a series that would, without the perfect casting, have fallen flat. But Edgar-Jones and Mescal are breathtakingly good and there’s no other pair on earth that could have exceeded their performances.
As the lead in the Hulu/BBC drama and one of the year’s most anticipated TV shows, the rising British talent is having a major career moment, one that she’s been experiencing from the confines of her London flat.
Having your big Hollywood break in the middle of a global pandemic is a curious experience.
Whereas many rising stars about to be jettisoned into the public eye thanks to a TV show or movie might expect to be shepherded by teams of publicists between late night talk show sofas, photographer’s studios, magazines and newspaper offices, hotels for press junkets and perhaps even a few long-haul flights, for Daisy Edgar-Jones the COVID-19 lockdown has seen the usual media circuit stripped back to whatever can be achieved from her bedroom.
Not that it’s made the promotional work any less hectic for the star of the 12-part Hulu/BBC drama Normal People.
Thanks to the phenomenal buzz surrounding the show, based on the word-of-mouth sensation that was Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel about the four-year on-and-off romance of a young Irish couple, the 21-year-old has been conducting near back-to-back interviews over the phone and via Zoom from her shared flat in the north London borough of Haringey. And while there may be less pampering and travel, promoting the show from home is certainly making things a little less complicated when it comes to getting herself ready for each video call.
“I only have to dress up from my upper half, because that’s the only thing onscreen,” she says with a laugh. “It’s jogging bottoms on the lower half … it’s great.”