Normal People actor Paul Mescal has said he felt “objectified” after the release of the show.
Reflecting on the hit BBC Three series, in which the breakout star plays Sally Rooney’s character Connell Waldron opposite Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne Sheridan, Mescal said the newfound attention often felt overwhelming.
“I felt objectified after Normal People,” Mescal told Elle magazine, who included the actor as part of their annual “movers and shakers” list alongside Edgar-Jones.
“It’s to be expected,” Mescal added, “given the intimacy of my scenes, but it doesn’t make it easier. I daren’t read some of the intense DMs I receive. But it’s not enough to put me off the industry.”
The actor also explained his thoughts on Connell’s chain, the accessory his character wears that took the internet by storm.
“The power of Connell’s chain was completely unexpected,” he said. “And a bit frightening! It became this totemic being that lived outside the show.”
Paul Mescal had previously addressed the attention he received from fans of the show, on the I’m Grand Mam podcast earlier this year.
“To be honest, it’s uncomfortable,” Mescal said. “I’m not trying to be full of faux humility but it’s a weird thing when people are very quickly attracted to a character you play.
“And I think that’s the thing I’m focusing on. I’m not Connell, I’m totally different to him. I think maybe what’s sexy about Connell is he’s kind of classic back-footed, aloof, smart. I’m definitely not back-footed or aloof.”
He added: “This is for the record — if anybody ever dates me, I am not Connell, and nor do I want to be him.”