Normal People actor reveals exactly how the cast filmed the show’s intimate scenes

normal people paul mescal explains sex scenes
(Image credit: Getty)

Normal People actor Paul Mescal has opened up on filming the show’s intimate scenes.

The BBC drama, which follows lovelorn couple Connell and Marianne as they navigate the ups and downs of life and relationships, has been a hit of the network, delivering BBC Three its best week ever with over 16 million iPlayer requests since its launch.

Based on the bestselling Sally Rooney book, the show conveys the young couple’s real relationship leaving viewers in equal fits of nostalgia, hope and heartbreak.

And in the spirit of communicating a real relationship, the series surprises viewers with a number of intimate (and very nude) sex scenes.

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So actor Paul Mescal, who plays one half of the couple Connell, has revealed exactly how he and fellow romantic protagonist Daisy Edgar-Jones filmed the awkward scenes, opening up on what it felt like to be filmed stark naked.

Revealing how the team filmed the many intimate scenes, Paul told Mr Porter, “We would discuss the scene and then Ita [O’Brien, intimacy coordinator] would block what we had discussed, so it wasn’t mine or Daisy’s responsibility to decide what was appropriate.

“You’re told what to do. It’s freeing!”.

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“On the first Friday of the first week, we had a full day of sex scenes,” he recalled, adding of his nerves, “It’s fair to say we were both incredibly nervous. That Thursday, I didn’t sleep”.

The star also opened up on how he felt about his nude scenes, saying, “I’m not concerned about it because I made a choice that this project is something that I’m proud of – well, on paper, that makes sense.”

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“The closer I’m getting to people seeing me fully nude on screen – it does make me slightly nervous,” he added.

He also explained why he thought the scenes were important, saying, “You see loads of TV shows and films that have been really quite good, but you don’t buy the chemistry at the centre of the relationship”.

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a Rioja- and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she stalked the royals via breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.

Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a good slathering of SPF and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines. Being a product specialist on a brand for bold women (and living the single life) means that Aleesha also knows a thing or two about the must-buy sex toys, so she relishes in unleashing her inner Carrie Bradshaw on our sex & relationships pages.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group.

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