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'I lied about being able to drive to get role' - Normal People star Paul Mescal

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Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal

Normal People star Paul Mescal has revealed he fibbed about being able to drive to clinch the dream role of Connell in the acclaimed new TV series.

His character is behind the wheel a lot in the 12-part series but the actor (24), from Maynooth, Co Kildare, had no licence when he was auditioning.

"My agent was like, 'We are not losing this job over you not being able to drive so I'll tell production that you can and in the meantime, you go off and rattle through as many lessons as you can'," the actor told Entertainment Weekly magazine.

The little white lie worked and Mescal must have passed his test as fans of the show - launched with two episodes on the BBC on Monday and RTE on Tuesday - have already seen Connell in his car numerous times.

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Daisy Edgar Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell in the TV adaptation of ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney

Daisy Edgar Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell in the TV adaptation of ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney

Daisy Edgar Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell in the TV adaptation of ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney

His driving was crucial to the plot as he picks up his mum Lorraine, played by Cork star Sarah Greene, every night from the mansion home of his love interest, Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones), where she works as a cleaner.

It is there that the two young lovers first get together.

The actor revealed that when he first heard about the auditions for the series, based on Irish author Sally Rooney's best-selling book, he was in the middle of performing a play in Dublin.

"We were all saying that we were going to play Connell and Marianne and reading the book furiously," he said.

"It was a really exciting time because we all recognised that it was going to be an Irish story and that they were looking for Irish actors."

Auditions went well and he got the part.

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He settled in for "what felt like a very long Christmas period" to await chemistry reads with potential co-stars.

"I met Daisy at the chemistry reads and it just seemed to fall into place," he said.

"I never felt any doubt that chemistry existed between us since we got in the room and auditioned together.

"Daisy and I just got on. We have a very similar sense of humour and she's also just an astonishing actress and an even better person."

The story follows Connell, the popular football star in a Sligo school who falls for the wealthy, bright but lonely class outsider Marianne.

They conduct a secret affair which continues on and off through school and Trinity College, where their social positions are reversed and where he finds it difficult to fit in.


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