‘Normal People’: Watch the Cast Break Down the Tricky Adaptation from Book to Screen — Exclusive

With “Normal People” now available to stream on Hulu, audiences are being swept up in the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s popular novel.

Following Marianne and Connell (Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, respectively) as they navigate an illicit relationship and their own personal struggles, director Lenny Abrahamson tells a story that transcends the pages of the source material. I

n a new featurette released by Hulu, Abrahamson said, “They cease to be characters on-screen, and they become living, breathing, very vibrant, very present people.”

Blending series footage with written script dialogue, the emphasis of the new featurette is the interplay between the words and the characters. As Edgar-Jones said, Marianne is “such a complex woman. Sally’s written her so beautifully, and it’s so amazing to have the chance to talk about the subjects and explore them.”

Edgar-Jones said she was reading Rooney’s book as she was auditioning for the role, adding another layer of intensity to her performance. “I put myself in Marianne’s shows and fell in love with her — and with Connell.”

“The writing is so good,” newcomer Mescal said. “The book is a dream for any actor to play. It gives you the tools, as an actor, to really investigate the difficulties that he faces and the joys that he faces at the same time.”

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IndieWire’s own Ben Travers praised the cast in his “A” review of the series. He particularly brought up the cast for praise. “Edgar-Jones conveys exhaustion and exhilaration with little more than a look or a slight inflection, while Mescal holds back so much when out in the world that it makes his sex scenes all the more revealing. Together, the young talents are never more expressive than when Connell and Marianne are alone and entwined.”

“When I put Daisy and Paul together, that was the crucial test,” Abrahamson said. “And that’s where that chemistry was so apparent. You could see it.”

This element is also emphasized in our review, with Travers writing, “Abrahamson steadily draws in on his two leads, framing their environment to help define them.”

There is a “pull” between the leads, Mescal said. “It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly brings them together,” Edgar-Jones added. “But, it’s there.”

You can learn more about “Normal People,” streaming now on Hulu, via the video below:

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