Paul Mescal made his television debut on “Normal People,” for which he is now an Emmy Award nominee for Best Movie/Limited Actor. Asked by Gold Derby what clip from the show he might hope represent him during the ceremony, which the academy announced last week will be virtual, Mescal responded that it ought to be one in which he acts opposite co-lead Daisy Edgar-Jones. “Any big duologue between myself and her would be probably the right thing to do,” explains Mescal (watch the exclusive interview above) after noting, “The responsibility of the show is totally shared with the director, but also between those two characters.”
The relationship between their characters of Connell Waldron and Marianne Sheridan has its ups and downs over the six-hour miniseries from Hulu. Mescal admits that the romantic in him imagines that the characters live on as major figures throughout each other’s lives beyond the six years that are depicted on screen, but he qualifies, “What’s great about them is I can think about what their future looks like and then the next day, it could be totally different and that’s a sign of really well-drawn, really well-written characters that I can predict to a certain extent how they will respond to circumstances, but I never know what their relationship will look like together on a consistent basis and that’s just so exciting.”
Reflecting on this first job in television, Mescal reveals that what he found most “taxing” was not so much what he put in during filming, but returning to a life without his “Normal People” crew after completing production. “You work so closely that you develop such a tight bond,” says the actor. He laments, “You finish filming and then you get in a plane and then you don’t have that tangible connection anymore or in the same context and those things are quite difficult to adjust to.” Mescal reconnected virtually with key crew members and co-stars during the show’s press run, which was a source of “great joy” because it was “very educational” to hear their creative processes articulated. He explains, “When you’re on set, the process is just happening; you’re not discussing the process or how people make things.”
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