Actress Daisy Edgar-Jones feared she’d be the target of Internet trolls when Normal People first aired because she and co-star Paul Mescal were in so many sex scenes.
The young star of the global hit had an early taste of what she worried was to come when nasty comments were posted online following the debut of the drama’s trailer, but when the series actually aired the criticism stopped.
And now Daisy is crediting the way the sex scenes were shot by directors Lenny Abrahamson and Hetti Macdonald for making them seem normal and at times tender.
“That’s one of the things I’m most proud of in the whole series is that sense of equality between Paul and I and is the representation of intimacy between (my character) Marianne and Connell (Mescal’s character),” the actress tells Elizabeth Day on her How To Fail podcast.
“I remember before the show actually aired, I had a few nasty comments on my Instagram because it was talked about a lot that there was to be quite a few raunchy scenes. I remember reading that because I thought it was interesting because I don’t really think of those scenes as raunchy or explicit because I really don’t think they are.
“I remember seeing those comments and thinking, ‘Oh gosh, am I going to get a lot of flack for doing those scenes and for having nudity?’ But since the show has come out, I have had nothing.”
The sex scenes in the series have also been accepted by Daisy’s pals: “None of my friends have even mentioned the strangeness of watching because I think those scenes are done so beautifully by Lenny and by Hetti. I’m so proud of them.”
Daisy reveals she and Paul were offered the assistance of an intimacy co-ordinator on set, so they could talk through uncomfortable scenes: “She is just amazing. We couldn’t have done any of those scenes without her,” the actress adds. “I think it has to be the gold standard now that those scenes require somebody to look after you because it properly is a stunt and not just physically but mentally.
“Because it’s a vulnerable place to put yourself in, you want to feel that you have complete autonomy and control because at the end of the day, you are playing a character. It is your body and you want to feel that it is handled with care and that people aren’t just exploiting you. I’m so glad that that wasn’t the case.
“Ita (O’Brien) would always make sure that Paul and I always discussed the boundaries and what we were both comfortable and not comfortable with. We would agree touch as by we would say, ‘This area is fine, but please stay off this area’, or, ‘I don’t feel comfortable with this’ (sic). And then we’d discuss what the emotional beats are of the scene.”