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Daisy Edgar-Jones: I had to part with my own idea of Normal People

Daisy Edgar-Jones (Yui Mok/PA)
Daisy Edgar-Jones (Yui Mok/PA)

Daisy Edgar-Jones has said she had to learn to “part with her idea of Normal People” when it was released and accept that the show belonged to the fans.

The 23-year-old actress starred as Marianne Sheridan alongside Paul Mescal, who played Connell Waldron, in the hit series based on the novel of the same name by Irish author Sally Rooney.

The romantic drama, which was released on BBC Three in 2020, focused on the on-off relationship between Irish teenagers Marianne and Connell, beginning in their school days through to their time at university.

Normal People
Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal portrayed an on-off relationship between Irish teenagers (Enda Bowe/BBC)

Edgar-Jones told The Guardian: “I learned in a hurry that I had to part with my idea of Normal People the moment it landed.

“That people were going to have their own relationship with, I dunno, a piece of jewellery I hadn’t thought about during the whole of filming, because the show was theirs now.”

On its release, the series generated huge popularity with a fan Instagram account set up devoted to Connell’s silver chain necklace, which still has more than 150,000 followers.

According to the BBC, the series drove BBC Three to its best ever week for programme requests on iPlayer at the time, with more than 21.8 million watches in its first week.

Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards 2021 – Arrivals – London
Paul Mescal starred as Connell Waldron alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones (Ian West/PA)

The actress admitted that she is “still processing” the show’s extreme success and that she has not “worked out what it all means – if it means anything at all”.

She said that she still gets feelings of nostalgia for the show and cast, and confirmed she was still in contact with friends she made on set, including Mescal.

Edgar-Jones added that filming in Dublin, Italy and Sweden, had “real highs” and “some lows”.

“I was very green as an actor. There were definitely times I thought, ‘my God, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m too wee’,” she added.

“There was this thought that if I had one bad day at work I’d have to live with the results for the rest of my life.”

She said she grew in confidence with help from the “close friendships” formed on set, describing it as a “cosy romance” with lots of people which made them almost forget they were creating something to be later watched.

Edgar-Jones latest role will see her tackle another central character from a beloved novel as she plays Kya in the big-screen adaptation of Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

The coming-of-age story set in North Carolina in the 1950s and 60s follows Kya, an abandoned ‘marsh girl’ who seeks solace in nature.

She described portraying such well-known book characters as “pressure”, adding: “You’re coming to scenes that people have already formed a deep relationship with, and you’ve got a couple of hours in front of a camera to get it right for them.”

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