We Chatted To Angel Prince Paul Mescal About Normal People’s Impact & His Epic New Stan Series

It’s wild to think that a mere few months ago, the name Paul Mescal was completely unknown to us. Fast forward to now and he’s not only dominating our telly screens with Stan’s smash hit series Normal People, he’s also dominating the award circuit (not to mention our dreams).

Just yesterday it was announced that the romantic drama series had been nominated for four Emmy Awards, one of them being bestowed to Paul for Lead Actor in a Limited Series. And he’ll be gracing our screens again v. soon with brand new Stan series, The Deceived.

We caught up with the chain connoisseur to discuss the impact of Normal People and suss out what to expect from his new show.

me @ paul / connell.

PTV: Normal People was life changing, yes, LIFE CHANGING, for so many people (yours truly included), what has the response been like for you?

Paul: To be honest it is hard to describe accurately as it is something that I feel very much still in the middle of and I don’t really know what I feel at the moment.

It has been so lovely and amazing and I am incredibly grateful that the show has reached as many people as it has and that the response has been so positive.

Your fave lovers Connell (Mescal) and Marianne (Edgar-Jones). (Credit: Stan)

PTV: We’re so pumped to catch you in Stan’s new series, The Deceived! What drew you to the project?

Paul: The fact that this was a psychological drama didn’t particularly surprise or confuse me because the standard of the writing in Derry Girls (another series created by Lisa McGee) is so good. It is hilarious and the quality of the script is so high that I had no trepidation over whether this would work or not.

PTV: You started working on this project so soon after Normal People, what was that like?

Paul: I had two days off after I wrapped filming on Normal People and then I started filming The Deceived. This is my second ever TV role. As for whether I was nervous? Totally! I don’t have enough experience to feel completely comfortable stepping onto set but everybody was so welcoming and kind on this show.

The nerves were very much present when I stepped on set on my first day for The Deceived. But I’d be worried if that feeling wasn’t present because I don’t think nerves are necessarily a bad thing.

PTV: Tell us about the new character you’re bringing to life, Sean McKeogh.

Paul: Sean is a simple man, in a good sense. He is a man directly invested in the community, he has a very strong and good moral compass and he has his eye on Ophelia. He is attracted to her but also there is a slight concern he has for her. Most of my scenes are with Emily (Reid), who is phenomenal in this and she is a wonderful person and was very kind and generous with her time.

Sean is the local handy man, the jack-of-all-trades and he is helping to fix up the house when he meets Ophelia with Emmett’s (Emmett J. Scanlan) character, Michael. It is a very simple, nondescript meeting which again, is a testament to the scripts in that it’s never about hitting you over the head with these didactic moments, but it is simple and this relationship is one that has various subtle but important beats throughout the story.

Connell as Riley in Stan’s spooky new series, The Deceived. (Credit: Stan)

PTV: Were there any challenges with stepping into this character’s shoes?

Paul: It is impossible to play charming. It is more about understanding where Sean has come from, what his upbringing was like and what are the values he has in his own life, as I think that’s what people will find most charming and trustworthy about him.

So it’s more about investing in what other people might find amiable about him rather than trying to directly play that.

PTV: Interesting! Some of the common themes in the series are gaslighting and psychological abuse, what was it like portraying this?

Paul: It’s great to be a part of something that is showing this because to be honest I imagine the situation in this drama is a common occurrence, unfortunately.

Ultimately whether it is gaslighting or abuse, it is about a person in power manipulating the situation and that is something that is very present in our society, not just with the MeToo movement but as a societal theme and so it is great to see this explored in a domestic, Irish setting but also with the subtle supernatural quality under the show – it is really well judged and well balanced.

PTV: And lastly, what do you reckon viewers will love about The Deceived, as much as Connell loves that damn chain?

Paul: This drama feels very singular, specifically in the sense of genre. I can’t think of another show with this kind of supernatural, psychological thriller crossover that is also set inside such a well-crafted world.

I like things on TV that feel like they have their own specific identity and this definitely does. It is incredibly well written. Whenever I was working with the actors who were in every day it was very clear how talented and committed they are. When those things come together it is generally worth getting excited about.

 The Deceived premieres August 4 only on Stan – with new episodes daily, same day as the U.K.