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Normal People actress on the ‘joy’ of having an intimacy coach on set

Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell (Enda Bowe/BBC/PA)
Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell (Enda Bowe/BBC/PA)

Normal People star Daisy Edgar-Jones has said having an intimacy coach on set during the BBC Three adaptation’s sex scenes made them “a joy” to film.

The 12-part series, based on Sally Rooney’s book, stars Cold Feet actress Edgar-Jones, 21, as Marianne and Paul Mescal, 24, in his first television role as Connell.

It follows their relationship from the end of their school days in a small town in the west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College.

Describing intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien, Edgar-Jones told the Guardian: “She’s brilliant. The sex scenes were a joy to us because it was her job to worry about how it would work and we just turned up, did the choreography and carried on. We just had to think about the emotional beats.

“What I’m really happy with is that there’s an equal representation of both our bodies. Paul is equally exposed.

“When we’re in a scene and topless, it’s different for Paul than it is for me, so that it’s nice that there are shots where we are both fully nude.

“It means that there’s more of a balance, gender-wise.”

Costa Book Awards 2018
Sally Rooney (Costa Book Awards/PA)

Edgar-Jones said the first intimate scenes between Marianne and Connell offered a “healthy depiction” of real life.

She told the newspaper: “I love that scene. It’s so awkward. For me, it is the most representative love scene I’ve ever seen.

“Connell is so kind and giving and safe with her that it’s a very healthy depiction of what first-time sex can look like.”

Mescal added: “It’s not clinical. It’s loving and romantic and sexy because you see two minds coming together.”

Rooney, who has penned the adaptation alongside writers Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2018 and Normal People was named 2019’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards.

Normal People premieres on BBC Three on April 26.

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