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Paul Mescal says he felt ‘uncomfortable’ after the success of Normal People

Mescal recalls being asked in interviews whether the show helped him ‘get laid’

Furvah Shah
Tuesday 25 October 2022 17:01 BST
Paul Mescal says he's worried Instagram account for his chain more popular than his character

Paul Mescal has opened up about feeling “uncomfortable” following the success of Normal People.

The 26-year-old actor rose to fame after the show, adapted from author Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel of the same name, which was released two years ago.

Speaking about the aftermath of the show’s success, Mescal recalled being followed around London by paparazzi. The actor also said he was asked by journalists in interviews whether the show helped him “get laid”.

Talking about being objectified is “really tricky,” said Mescal in an interview with The New York Times.

The Emmy-nominated actor acknowledged that the experience is more well-known and can be much worse for women in the industry.

Mescal added that now, after spending a few years as an actor, he feels “like the ground is tenuously below my feet”.

Mescal starred as Connell, alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones who played Marianne, in Normal People, which follows the characters as they navigate love, sex, class, abuse, and mental health.

In a five-star review for The Independent, critic Ed Cumming described the miniseries as “unusually good” and “pitch perfect”.

Mescal said that since the show’s release, he has been picky with future projects, deciding against starring in big blockbusters.

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Instead, he has sought out more complex characters. In his first leading role since Normal People, he will star in A24’s Aftersun.

Directed by Charlotte Wells, the film stars Mescal as Calum, the 30-year-old Scottish father of 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio).

Speaking about Aftersun, Mescal said he wants stories like this to “be my foundation”.

Mescal and Corio star as father and daughter in A24’s ‘Aftersun’ (A24 via AP)

“I just feel protective of how the space for smaller films is shrinking and shrinking. That depresses me,” he said.

“So how do I strike a balance between my political ideations toward the world of film – which is in a very precarious place – versus doing an action film or a spy thriller?”

Aftersun will be released in select theatres on 8 November 2022.

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