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lost for words Paul Mescal was 'stunned' when Maggie Gyllenhaal asked him to be in The Lost Daughter

'Working with Maggie was a dream, she’s an actor’s dream'

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Dakota Johnson and Paul Mescal

Dakota Johnson and Paul Mescal

Dakota Johnson and Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal has revealed he was stunned when Maggie Gyllenhaal asked him to be in The Lost Daughter with Hollywood A-listers Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson.

The 25-year-old Kildare actor said he felt privileged to be in such a big movie along with fellow Irish star Jessie Buckley after jumping to worldwide fame as Connell Waldron in Normal People.

“It’s pretty special isn’t it? It’s not a bad place to start,” he said,

“That was definitely one of those big moments in my life. When you’re called up and you’re like, ‘Maggie Gyllenhaal wants to have you in a film and you’re gonna be shooting it in Greece and Jessie’s gonna be in it, and Olivia’s gonna be in it, and Dakota’s gonna be in it.’

“It definitely kind of feels like a bit of a ‘fake it ’til you make it’ kind of a thing.

“And working with Maggie was a dream, she’s an actor’s dream. She pushes you and pulls you in directions and it never felt like we were arriving into a scene with a kind of finished product in mind.”

The heartthrob actor said it was also a joy to be filming in Greece where the film is based and where Colman’s character Leda re-examines her role as a mother after becoming obsessed with another family while on a beach holiday.

“It was pretty cool considering it was roughly this time last year when Covid was at its height… I feel like Covid’s always at its height,” said Mescal.

“It was pretty amazing. Like, the location was spectacular. We got to hang out. It’s just the culture that I think is really quite special.”

Talking of his co-star, Mescal said: “What’s not to admire about Olivia Colman? I got to have dinner with her last night.

“She’s just the best. She’s a fantastic leader of the film, she’s amazing fun, she’s so good.

“She’s so brilliant and she’s really generous and she really sets the tone in the film and kind of just by her brilliance she demands us all to get up to her level or you’ll be just wiped off the screen.”

In the movie he plays an Irish lad working in the holiday resort for the summer who befriends Leda but his motives might be dubious.

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“I play a character called Will. He’s a lifeguard slash runs the cafe on the beach.

“He kind of observes a lot of the action. He strikes up a relationship with Leda, Olivia’s character.

“And so it was really nice to just kind of be able to sit into the film in a way — and I think there’s kind of an abstract quality to him in that it’s hard to kind of put a finger on exactly what he wants, but it’s someone who kind of sits back and observes the action of the film in a way.”

And the actor said he was already looking forward to his next project with another Irish superstar.

“I go to Australia in January. I’m shooting a film called Foe with Garth Davis and Saoirse Ronan which I’m super excited about. Yeah, we all love Saoirse, she’s amazing. So yeah, I’m super excited about that.”

Kerry star Buckley, 31, who plays a young Leda in flashbacks in The Lost Daughter, also told the Knockturnal website that it was a joy working with Colman.

“It was like two bottles of Rosé and a singsong. That is what it was like,” said the Fargo and Wild Rose star.

And speaking of the first-time director, she said: “Oh, that was one of the most rewarding and kind of changing moments of my life as a woman.

“Just cause Maggie is such a brilliant, beautiful, intelligent, strong woman, who doesn’t apologize for herself really and encompasses all of the things.

“I guess as a director she had the sensitivity of knowing what it was like to be an actress on the other side, but she also had the confidence to be a leader on the other side of the lens, too.

“She just dared me to be as full and as humane and honest as I possibly could. And we kind of made a pact to jump off the side of the cliff together, right at the beginning.”

She said she too loved working in Greece.

“If anyone wants to film with me, can we please make it in Greece?

“It was amazing – we got to swim in the sea and I had an amazing crew and it became a little family like we were all on the tiny island together and nobody could come on or off. It was beautiful, it was amazing.”

The busy actress said she was currently in the middle of rehearsals for Cabaret in London’s West End and had just wrapped up on an Alex Garland film and a movie called Women Talking directed by Sarah Polley.

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