“I Went To Nine Debs In A Month”: How Paul Mescal Prepared For His Role As Connell

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THERE was BAFTA joy for Paul Mescal last night after the actor scooped a prestigious award for his now-iconic role as Connell in Normal People… but just how did Mescal get match-fit for the part?

According to sources close to the newly-appointed Best Actor, Mescal:

  • Went to a number of debs balls before filming began, so that he could fully immerse himself in the mindset of a young lad in rural Ireland who was ‘let out’ for the first time.
  • Played full-forward for a GAA team for the entire summer, scoring dozens of goals and getting into countless pull-apart brawls on the pitch (rumour has it that Mescal is not welcome in Westmeath anymore following an incident that he claimed was a ‘fair shoulder’).
  • Wore Connell’s iconic chain day and night, despite being allergic to the metal to the point where he broke out in boils for weeks.
  • Had his legs lengthened and his arse heightened in order to make Connell’s GAA shorts look especially scandalous on him.
  • Switched his preferred tipple from Smithwicks to cans of Coors Light, as it was ‘more like what a young lad would drink’. Mescal also refused to go to a pub during the entire shoot, opting instead to do all of his drinking beside a canal or behind a bush.
  • Re-sat his Leaving Cert, to properly get into the mindset of a 17-year-old being crushed by the sheer pressure of having to cope with exams and riding all around you.
  • Purchased, customised and constantly washed a 2007 Honda Civic.
  • Refused to accept praise for anything, to the extent that when handed his award last night his instinct was to say ‘ah no, you’re grand’.
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