By now, you've probably heard of Sally Rooney's coming-of-age novel, Normal People. It's the story of two Irish students, Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal, who I may have a crush on), who start a complicated relationship in high school that follows them to college. Over four years, we are given a glimpse into their story—one of first love, social class, and the importance of communication between two people.
Rooney's book has received a cult following since its launch, and when it was announced that it would become a 12-episode series on Hulu (dropping on April 29), it received even more buzz. Before you settle into Marianne and Connell's story, here's everything you need to know about Daisy Edgar-Jones, the 21-year-old actress who plays Marianne in the series.
She's been acting since she was little.
Growing up as an only child in northern London, Edgar-Jones considered herself "very average" at subjects during her primary school days. It wasn't until she decided to try out for the school play when she felt she had found her calling.
"When I was in year five, we did a school play, and that was the first time I remember people saying 'Wow, that was really good' and I thought 'Oh...I'm good at something!' It seemed acting was just the thing that I was best at."
She went to one of the U.K.'s most prestigious acting schools.
At age 14, Edgar-Jones tried out for the National Youth Theatre and was accepted. Orlando Bloom, Rosamund Pike, Colin Firth, Dame Helen Mirren, and Daniel Craig are just some of the theatre's notable alumni, so it was a pretty big deal for her to get in. "It's one of the main reasons I can begin to act professionally now," Edgar-Jones told Woodhouse College.
She then went on to make her television debut at 17-years-old in the revival of the British comedy, Cold Feet. You've probably seen her in her most recent roles as Emily in the 2019 adaptation of War of the Worlds and as Delia Rawson in the popular BBC drama, Gentleman Jack.
Filming the Normal People sex scenes were the least challenging part for her.
To Edgar-Jones, the most challenging part of filming Normal People was making sure she had the Irish accent down. In a conversation with i-D, she spoke about the pressure she felt during that first week of filming. "I was going home every day like, 'oh my god,' feeling serious imposter syndrome that was telling me I was doing everything wrong," she said. "I was anxious about the accent, as well, because it's quite specific. It's such an Irish story. I wanted to do that justice."
She was able to nail down the accent in just two weeks. She credits long conversations with Irish castmates and author Sally Rooney for being able to get it down so quickly. "I listened to Sally's accent a lot," she told ELLE UK.
She and her co-star, Paul Mescal, have the best relationship.
It's the icing on the cake when two fictional characters you care deeply about are also friends IRL. When the series finished production, Edgar-Jones posted the cutest video of her and Mescal celebrating.
"That’s a wrap on Normal People!! What an incredible 5 months I have had with the best people in the world. Here’s Paul Mescal bringing the craic as per usual, thank you for being a top quality pal and also blowing me away with your talent and your kindness (sorry I’m being v sentimental tonight) I can’t wait for this show to come out it’s going to be something special! X So long Marianne 💛"
Edgar-Jones loves the book as much as you do.
Yes, you can rest easy knowing that Edgar-Jones cares about Marianne and Connell's coming-of-age story just as much as you do. Before shooting the 12-part series, the 21-year-old read the book five times. (FIVE! That's four more times than I did.)
"I was totally in awe of Sally because she's so incredibly talented," she says. Edgar-Jones told ELLE UK flying to Dublin to take a chemistry test with Mescal, who would play Connell, was the most scared she's ever been. "I wanted the part more than anything,' she said. "I really felt like I understood Marianne. I really got her sense of humor."
Normal People premieres on Hulu Wednesday, April 29. Sign up for a free trial here.
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Bianca Rodriguez is the Fashion & Luxury Commerce Manager at Hearst Magazines, covering fashion, beauty, and more for Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Town & Country. She likes lounging about with a good book and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.
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