"This has been a very odd year for everyone," says Daisy Edgar-Jones. "Mine has been bonkers." On top of adjusting to our pandemic-altered way of life, the actress has had to contend with her nascent celebrity status since her delicate portrayal of Marianne in Normal People thrust her into the spotlight in April.
The series quickly became BBC Three’s most-watched programme ever, with nearly seven million viewers (among them Saoirse Ronan, Jodie Comer and Candice Carty-Williams) tuning into observe the young lovers’ on-off romance. "TV has been the thing that has got us all through," says Daisy. "I feel very lucky to have been a part of such a special show that has resonated with a lot of people."
The rising-star rites of passage that followed were all rather unusual: the press tour was primarily conducted in Daisy’s bedroom over Zoom and fans approached her in the street for socially distanced selfies. When she was finally able to venture onto a red carpet for the Baftas, photographers handed her co-star Paul Mescal a tape measure to ensure they were far enough apart in pictures. "They brought it out and I was like, 'Hmm,'" she says, erupting into laughter. "It was the most magical day. Getting my make-up and hair done was really fun, and showing off my shoes! Now I’m just in slippers."
Over the summer, Daisy returned to set to shoot the second series of War of the Worlds under new safety protocols that required regular hand-sanitising and a daily Covid test. "It was a wee bit strange at first, but it’s mad how used to things you get,’ she says. ‘I’m so happy to be back working." There is plenty more of that in store for the actress, who recently clinched her first lead role in a Hollywood film, a thriller produced by The Big Short’s Adam McKay. Due to coronavirus constraints, the whole audition process was virtual, with Daisy meeting the director Mimi Cave over a video call and submitting a self-tape. "I’ve got quite good at balancing up the camera and doing the lighting," she says. "The only thing is working out your eye line. Sometimes I get a bit shy if I’m staring at the camera too much." Details of the project are strictly confidential at present, but Daisy – in her typically ebullient fashion– is ‘over the moon’ to have been cast in it.
Looking ahead, she hopes to deepen her knowledge of her craft. "I’d like to see how much I can morph and change and learn," she says. "I’m really excited to keep exploring what I can do." Considering the understated brilliance of her breakout performance, we’re sure that Daisy Edgar-Jones will succeed in anything she does.
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