Lenny Abrahamson was nominated a few years ago for the Best Director Oscar for helming Room, which opened up several cinematic opportunities for him. Yet for his latest project, Hulu’s Normal People, he says there was no question he wanted to work in television.
During Deadline’s virtual Contenders Television: The Nominees all-day event, Abrahamson, an Emmy nominee for Outstanding Direction of a Limited Series or Movie, told me why he thought the medium was perfect for the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel.
“Television is not in any way the little brother of movies,” he said. “TV in this new sort of renaissance has had great impact in the quality of shows and is amazing. For a while I have wanted to work in that space,“ he added, noting that the episodic nature of the book spanning the relationship of a young couple over the course of four years was a perfect fit for episodic TV. “The story is an extraordinary look at a crucial phase in a person’s life.”
Abrahamson was joined on the panel by co-star Paul Mescal, making his television and film debut opposite co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones. He was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Limited Series or Movie; though Jones was passed by, he told me he shares the honor with her in every way.
As for the role itself, Mescal was thrilled to have it.
“It had all the parts from an actor’s perspective that I wanted to be involved. I was very nervous stepping into it because I had no experience in the medium,” he said, adding his praise for Abrahamson, who shot the first six episodes of the 12-part series before handing off to Hettie McDonald for the second half.
Check out the video above, and click here to watch all of Sunday’s Contenders TV panels.
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