11 Things You Never Knew About 'Normal People'
The TV adaption of Sally Rooney's cult book Normal People is the most talked-about show on the small screen right now. We've been seeing articles and social media conversations about the series popping up all over the place this week, from both fans of the novel and those who are seeing Marianne and Connell's relationship form for the first time on their television or phone screens. We've delved a little deeper into the series that we're obsessed with right now to bring you eleven things you didn't know about Normal People.
1. Marianne was the last character to be cast
If you've already binge-watched the show, you probably can't imagine Normal People without Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne Sheridan, the affluent student whose outspoken personality hardly makes her popular in her hometown. The role of Connell was given to Paul Mescal early on and after an early morning flight to Dublin, a nervous Daisy was inevitably chosen to join the show as Marianne. When speaking to BBC, Daisy said that "I was kinda sort of the last person to be cast, I think".
2. Paul Mescal always kept the book nearby
It turns out that even the actors working on the set of Normal People were fans of the best-selling book. In fact, the actor playing Connell, Paul Mescal told EW that he always kept a copy with him so that he could "re-read and re-read and re-read" over and over to make sure he was paying homage to the original character in the novel.
3. Sally Rooney curated character-specific playlists
According to Image, to show her deep connection to the show and the characters she created, author Sally Rooney worked on curating specific music playlists for each character to give them further meaning and depth beyond the page. Before filming commenced on the show, she shared these with the lead actors Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones to help them embody their personas.
4. The show features countless Irish landmarks
Because the vast majority of the show was filmed in Ireland, you can spot countless important landmarks throughout the scenes of Normal People, and Image lists Marianne and Connell's Trinity College, The Hugh Lane Gallery (to depict Venice's Guggenheim Museum) as well as Streedagh Beach in north-west Sligo as a few of the main ones to look out for. Irish locals were surprised to see a "full Christmas tree in the square in the middle of summer when filming was underway".
5. Daisy Edgar-Jones was nervous about nailing the Irish accent
Aware of the cult following Normal People had accumulated over the past couple of years, Daisy Edgar Jones told i-D that she was nervous a lot of things, but the main one was a convincing Irish accent because "it's quite specific". The British actress knew that she had to nail Marianne's signature way of speaking to win over viewers who were looking to see the Marianne they had pictured in their minds translated on screen.
6. Paul lied about his driver's license
It turns out that the Connell that we've all come to love in the show actually lied about the fact that he'd never driven a car before. He mentioned to EW that his agent told him 'We are not losing this job over you not being able to drive so I'll tell production that you can and in the meantime, you go off and rattle through as many lessons as you can".
7. Normal People was almost a film
According to Image, Element Pictures producer Ed Guiney and director Lenny Abrahamson "have been plotting the best way to adapt the book for the screen ever since they got a hold of it before it was even published". They ultimately decided that the storyline suited a thirty-minute series rather than a long-format film.
8. Marianne is wearing a wig in early episodes
To resemble the character of Marianne as closely as possible, actress Daisy Edgar Jones is actually wearing a wig in early episodes, according to The Guardian's conversation with intimacy coordinator Ita O'Brien. While this might sound like a simple wardrobe decision, both Daisy and Paul had to work closely with Ita to make sure that there were no wig malfunctions during their very intimate scenes together.
9. Sally Rooney felt differently about the characters
The author of the original book and also the new adapted series, Sally Rooney described feeling more protective over the young characters she had previously brought to life on paper this time around when speaking to Express. She stated that "I found myself feeling sorry for them – which I don't think I ever did when I was writing the book."
10. Paul is just like his character Connell
If you were wondering why Paul Mescal was able to play the role of Connell so seamlessly, it might be because his real life isn't dissimilar from the teenager he's playing in the show. Like Connell, Vogue pointed out that Paul grew up in Maynooth where he spent his school days playing Gaelic football, before moving to Dublin for college. Talk about a great casting choice.
11. The whole cast bonded instantly
When speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Daisy Edgar-Jones explained that working with a bunch of cast members around the same age meant that they were all able to bond during the course of filming the show. While they were filming, the actors and crew members all lived together in Dublin where they regularly spent nights out at Xico's Mexican restaurant.