Calling all Normal People fans: a new TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s first novel, Conversations With Friends, is on its way.
Last year’s hit TV series, Normal People, was the kind of compulsive, brilliantly told coming-of-age drama that gets under your skin and stays there for weeks to come.
The BBC’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel was the talk of TV world, opening up the author’s deceptively simple storytelling to a whole new legion of fans.
That’s why fans have welcomed the news that Rooney’s first novel, Conversations With Friends, is also getting the BBC Three treatment.
The award-winning book, which was published in 2017, quickly secured Rooney’s reputation as “the first great millennial author” and the “voice of a generation”.
Conversations with Friends is not related to the storyline of Normal People at all, but both explore similar themes of love, hurt, friendship and desire. So we know that it’s going to work just as well on screen as its sister story.
Here’s everything we know about the series so far…
What is Conversations with Friends about?
Conversations with Friends tells the story of two college students – Frances and Bobbi – living in Dublin, who form a complicated connection with an older married couple called Nick and Melissa. Despite their obvious differences, the foursome quickly embark on a “complex ménage-à-quatre” that’s played out in a world of glamorous dinner parties, beautiful homes and holidays to Provence. But the strange new dynamic quickly shines a light on vulnerabilities no-one saw coming.
Rooney wrote the book while studying for her master’s degree in American literature. Published in 2017 to rave reviews after a seven-party auction for the publishing rights, it was nominated for the 2018 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize and the 2018 Folio Prize.
Is there any link between Normal People and Conversations with Friends?
No, the storyline of Conversations with Friends is not related to Normal People, although both come with the imprint of Rooney’s inimitable storytelling style.
Normal People co-producer Ed Guiney says this upcoming adaptation will come in the place of a sequel to our 2020 TV obsession.
“We’ve turned our attention – we’re adapting Conversations with Friends as a television series,” he said in a recent interview, adding that “maybe down the line we’ll come back to Connell and Marianne [from Normal People]”.
Who will star in Conversations with Friends?
The cast is exciting to say the least. Alison Oliver, an emerging actor from Lir Academy (whose graduates include Normal People’s Mescal) will play Frances. Sasha Lane (The Miseducation of Cameron Post) will star as Bobbi.
Rounding off the cast is Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, Mary Queen Of Scots ), who will play Nick and Jemima Kirke (Sex Education, Girls), who is set to star as Melissa.
Who will direct Conversations with Friends?
Conversations with Friends will run under Element Pictures, the same production company that took the helm for Normal People. Lenny Abrahamson, who co-directed the hit BBC drama along with Hettie Macdonald, will once again take the director’s seat for the new series. He previously earned an Oscar nomination for 2015’s Room (starring Brie Larson),
“I love Conversations with Friends, its depth, humour and freshness, and it’s an honour to be involved in bringing it to the screen,” Abrahamson said. “I’m particularly happy that my connection to Sally and her work is set to continue. Making Normal People has been a singular pleasure and I’m excited to be working with the same brilliant team again on Conversations with Friends.”
Speaking about the production, Rooney added: “I am so pleased to be working with the team at Element, Lenny Abrahamson and the BBC to produce an adaptation of Conversations with Friends.
“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.”
When and where will Conversations with Friends be released?
Conversations with Friends will consist of 12 half-hour episodes and air on BBC Three, but we’ll have to wait for a release date.
It’s a good job we have Normal People to binge again in the meantime (you know you want to).
Images: Getty, BBC, Faber & Faber