After the huge breakout success of BBC Three and Hulu's television adaptation of Sally Rooney's bestselling novel Normal People, it was no surprise the pair were very quick to confirm a similar adaptation of the famed Irish writer's other bestselling novel about horny millennials, Conversations with Friends. The upcoming project has been in development since at least last February, with the same team behind Normal People hard at work on the script since at least May — and now, the much-talked-about series has officially rounded out its core cast.
Recent Lir Academy graduate Alison Oliver will star as lead Frances, "a 21 year old college student" who is "observant, cerebral, and sharp," while American Honey star Sasha Lane plays her "self-assured, outspoken, and compelling" best friend Bobbi. The pair used to date but broke up three years ago and are now "virtually inseparable and perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin." Starring opposite them is Girls scene-stealer (and Sex Education season three addition) Jemima Kirke as Melissa, "an older writer, who is fascinated by [Frances and Bobbi]," and The Favourite's Joe Alwyn as Nick, "a handsome but reserved actor."
According to a recent press release, Conversations with Friends follows Frances "as she navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time." While performing at one of their spoken word poetry shows, Frances and Bobbi meet Melissa, and eventually, start to spend time with the writer and her husband. "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."
As previously reported, Conversations with Friends will mark something of a reunion for the Normal People team. Ed Guiney will reprise his role as executive producer, Lenny Abrahamson will reprise his role as director (alongside His Dark Materials' Leanne Welham), while British playwright Alice Birch will once again pen the scripts. (Birch wrote the episodes alongside Rialto's Mark O'Halloran, Succession's Susan Soon He Stanton, and Meadhbh McHugh.)
Speaking about the upcoming project, Ed Guiney said, "Alison, Sasha, Joe, and Jemima are the dream cast to lead Conversations With Friends and all of us at Element are so excited about the incredible scripts from our amazing team of writers which we have been developing with the oversight of the brilliant Lenny Abrahamson. We can’t wait to start filming with Lenny, Leanne, and our wonderful cast and crew to bring Sally’s extraordinary novel to the screen."
Naturally, Lenny Abrahamson felt similarly, adding, "I feel so excited to be collaborating with four such superb actors to bring Sally’s brilliant novel to the screen. Over the last few months it has been a privilege to work alongside Element Pictures and our extraordinary team of writers to get the scripts to a point where we all feel so excited to start shooting. I’ll be joined by a world class crew (many of whom worked on Normal People) and supporting cast and I’m particularly happy to have Leanne Welham come on board. I’ve been an admirer of her work for a long time and I have no doubt she will bring great skill and subtlety to the episodes she directs."
As of now, there is no official release date for Conversations With Friends. Stay tuned.