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'assault on senses' Paul Mescal says it was a 'shock' to go to a nightclub in Australia

The Co Kildare native has been shooting a film in Sydney.

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Actor Paul Mescal

Actor Paul Mescal

Actor Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal admits he had to pinch himself to realise he lucky he has been able to enjoy going to nightclubs in Sydney while Ireland is stuck in lockdown.

And the Kildare actor confesses there is now way he would have allowed himself to go to Australia to shoot his new movie only for the pandemic, as he would have insisted in spending time at home his grandparents at Christmas.

The 24-year-old old is currently Down Under filming a big screen version of Carmen, having flown to Oz in early December.

He has been pictured semi-naked this week in skimpy black shorts on Maroubra beach opposite his sexy co-star Melissa Barrera.

Australian quarantine rules are strict and Mescal had to spend two weeks off limits, but since getting the all-clear he took to the sunkissed beaches and also went partying.

“Things had got so institutionalised, but then I got here (Sydney) and couldn’t believe that I actually got to go to a nightclub – it was like an assault on the senses,” he said yesterday.

Feeling lonely over Christmas, he rang his younger brother Donnacha.

“I rang my brother, because I was feeling a little down,’ he admits, “and he just said, “Oh will you just be f—ing happy you’re in Sydney!” And he’s right. Now perspective is my best friend.”

The former gaelic footballer from Maynooth became an overnight star thanking to Normal People, in which his character Connell stripped off naked for sex scenes opposite Daily Edgar-Jones (Marianne).

“When you strip away the professional side of things, I had the same response to the pandemic as everyone else,” he told the Daily Telegraph of his success last year.

“Seeing the numbers of people dying is just brutal. Obviously this is a year that has changed my life and I’m incredibly grateful for it, but if you boil it all down everybody is feeling the same frustration.”

He reveals he would have not travelled to Australia if Covid-19 had not happened.

“All I still just really want is to see my grandparents,” he points out.

“This was my first Christmas away from home, and had Covid not happened there is no way I would have spent those months anywhere but with my family.

“Because I felt a responsibility to look after them in those circumstances. I wanted to tell them, ‘Look it’s all going to be fine, it’s just a little bit weird.’’

Paul still refuses to confirm rumours he is dating American musician Phoebe Bridgers, who he holidayed with in Co Cork last Summer.

He acknowledges that paparazzi photographers have been constantly tailing him to get whatever pictures they can of him.

“And they’re sneaky!’ he smiles.

“They sit in their cars and they seem to specialise in taking photos of you at the most unappealing moments.

“Someone told me to wear the same outfit and they’ll get bored. But they didn’t.

“And the scary thing is that the first time you see those photos is usually when they pop up on social media, so you could have been picking your nose or doing something really stupid!”

Paul also stressed that it was only fair that he had to go full frontal in his scenes with Daisy, if she was going to be shown completely naked.

“That’s the point. Because why wouldn’t there be parity?,” he asks.

“It’s just inherent misogyny in the industry and in the films that we’ve watched that makes us think that way.

"Above all Normal People was about tenderness. And if you’re trying to portray an authentic relationship between two people who are young and having sex, then why wouldn’t there be equal nudity?”.

He adds: “Sex scenes are always treated in this weird way, so it’s either all under the covers or you have to have music over the top because people can’t deal with heavy breathing – and that’s nonsense,” he explains.

"We have to move past that, and just try and get comfortable with the fact that people are naked sometimes in real life. And yes, they do sometimes have sex.”

He says, even when they auditioned, there was ‘chemistry’ between himself and Daisy.

“Yes – you know when you have “it”. I knew when I was with Daisy that it felt natural, that there wasn’t a huge amount of “acting” going on.’”, he reflects.

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