While Stephen King is unparalleled in his ability to conjure blood-curdling boogeymen from the furthest reaches of his imagination (see: the demonic Pennywise of “IT,” the vampires of “’Salem’s Lot”), the macabre master is often just as terrifying when he turns his attention to more mortal monsters.
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 →
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.”
When hit Netflix series Sex Education (hopefully) returns to production this summer, it will be one of the first major shows to do so following the coronavirus shutdown.
Asa Butterfield, who plays lead character Otis, is looking forward to it. “We’re going to be paving the way, potentially, for how things are done for the next while,” he says. “They want to get it right – there will be a lot of safety protocol put in place.”
Shot predominantly in south Wales, the high school drama’s sun-kissed visuals require long days of light. It was scheduled to film season three in May, before lockdown intervened; the restart is now tentatively scheduled for August, according to Sony, parent company of the show’s UK-based production company Eleven.
The option of quarantining a full cast and crew has been floated as a solution to Covid-19 transmission concerns in the industry. “If that’s what needs to be done, then that’s what needs to be done,” says Butterfield of the possibility that Sex Education could adopt such a measure. “I’m lucky that Wales isn’t that far from home – it’s in the same time zone and relatively similar. I’ve been staying in my apartment for the last few months so it wouldn’t be all that different – it’ll just be a different apartment!”
Whatever social distancing measures are required on set, he is naturally keen they don’t alter the essence of the show. “The foundation of this show is relationships, friendships, and intimacy, and it gives such a positive message. Otis and [best friend] Eric are always hugging and jumping around – we can’t change that. I would rather we all quarantined and we keep the heart of the show than lose that.”
Butterfield hopes the detailed work the industry is doing for a post-pandemic return as a chance to adopt greener shooting practices. “People are realising what’s important and what’s necessary, and then what’s just being wasteful. I know Sex Education is really pushing to minimise waste; taking that even further would be something that could come out of this.”
“XXXX” is a series of digits – 1089 is “Mind-bending Movies”, for example; while 354 is “Movies Starring Matthew McConaughey” – currently a genre of one film.
Not all numbers will result in a subgenre, and given Netflix’s ever-changing algorithms, they might move around every now and then, while there may be regional differences meaning that some codes don’t work.
Codes for the main genres are available here. At the foot of the list is a link to a list of even more.