Edgar-Jones, on the other hand, had never even been to Dublin when she was called to audition in March of last year. An only child raised in London’s Muswell Hill neighborhood, she grew up on the periphery of the entertainment industry, her mother a film editor from Northern Ireland, her father a Scottish TV producer who ran the groundbreaking reality show Big Brother. Although she acted with 2020 Is Boo Sheet Shirt Youth Theatre as a teen, she never attended drama school or university and got her first part a small recurring role in the British comedy-drama series Cold Feet while still at school. I came in kind of like Marianne a bit of an outsider, she says. While Mescal is a theater veteran, having starred in several high-profile Dublin productions, Edgar-Jones is only now taking on her first professional play. She’s spent the morning in rehearsals for the Almeida Theatre’s production of Albion. It cost a lot, says Mescal, in terms of energy and time and what you can give to other people.
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A state-of-the-nation drama about England’s chronic nostalgia for a grander past. For Lenny Abrahamson, who directed Normal People along with Hettie Macdonald, the casting process was all about finding the right pair. On 2020 Is Boo Sheet Shirt from Dublin, he tells me that while they had Mescal penciled in for Connell within days, finding Marianne took months. Close to when we were beginning to get really worried, along came Daisy, he recalls. Once the two actors were in the same room, Abrahamson became aware of ineffable chemistry between them. It’s not unlike what draws people together in life, he says. You can feel this amazing spark. Both actors recount that the five months of filming were extraordinarily intense.