Conversations with Friends, the 12-part series based on Sally Rooney’s 2017 debut novel, is officially in production in Northern Ireland. After photos of the series’ stars, Joe Alwyn and Alison Oliver, leaked across the weekend, the official Instagram account has confirmed shooting for the highly-anticipated adaption has begun.
The series, of course, follows the worldwide success of the Rooney-adapted miniseries Normal People, which premiered to critical acclaim—and socially distanced fan fervour—in April 2020, catapulting its stars, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal (and Paul Mescal’s chain) to fame in the process, before going on to garner several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
Like the story of Marianne and Connell from Normal People, Conversations with Friends follows a pair of young Irish millennials. At the centre are Dublin university students Frances and Bobbi—best friends and former lovers—who perform spoken word poetry together.
During one of their performances, the duo catches the attention of an older married couple: journalist Melissa and actor Nick, whom they quickly befriend.
But when Frances and Nick’s relationship secretly becomes romantic, Bobbi finds herself defending Melissa and distancing herself from her best friend. Cue: drama.
Just like Normal People, this isn’t any old simple romance novel—there are themes of class differences, political philosophy, and sexuality thrown in throughout, adding layers in the captivating way Rooney is so renowned for.
Frances, the show’s lead, will be played by newcomer Alison Oliver, a graduate of Dublin’s drama school The Lir Academy, where Mescal also graduated from. American Honey breakout Sasha Lane will play her ex-girlfriend turned roommate and best friend, Bobbi, while Joe Alwyn from The Favourite (also Taylor Swift’s longtime boyfriend) stars as Nick. Girls alum Jemima Kirke is set to play Melissa.
Meet the cast of Conversations with Friends. Based on the award-winning debut novel by Sally Rooney, #ConversationswithFriends is coming soon to @hulu and @bbcthree!
– Alison Oliver as "Frances"
– Sasha Lane as "Bobbi"
– Joe Alwyn as "Nick"
– Jemima Kirke as "Melissa" pic.twitter.com/jra2GxmfSz
— Conversations with Friends (@ConvosOnHulu) February 17, 2021
Hulu describes the series as following 21-year-old student Frances as she “navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.”
“Frances is observant, cerebral and sharp. Her ex-girlfriend, now best friend, Bobbi is self-assured, outspoken and compelling,” the streaming service continues. “Bobbi and Frances start to spend time with Melissa and her husband, Nick, a handsome but reserved actor. While Melissa and Bobbi flirt with each other openly, Nick and Frances embark on an intense secret affair that is surprising to them both. Soon the affair begins to test the bond between Frances and Bobbi, forcing Frances to reconsider her sense of self, and the friendship she holds so dear.”
In a statement when the adaptation was announced in February 2020, Rooney said, “I’m confident we’re going to find fresh and interesting ways of dramatising the novel’s dynamics, and I’m excited to watch the process take shape.”
As for the release date? Unfortunately, we need to wait a while: The 12 half-hour episodes are set to release on Hulu in 2022.