The casting for the television and streaming adaptation of Irish author Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends has been announced today, February 17.
Conversations with Friends is an Element Pictures production for BBC Three and Hulu and was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three. The 12-part drama has been adapted from the debut novel by Irish author Sally Rooney, who is on board as Executive Producer.
Newcomer Alison Oliver, a native of Co Cork, who has been cast as Frances in the upcoming series. She is joined by Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), beau of American pop star Taylor Swift, who will play Nick, Sasha Lane (American Honey, The Miseducation of Cameron Post), who will star as Bobbi, and Jemima Kirke (Sex Education, Girls), who will portray Melissa.
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Conversations with Friends follows Frances, a 21-year-old college student, 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 is self-assured, outspoken, and compelling. Though they broke up three years ago, Frances and Bobbi are virtually inseparable and perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin. It’s at one of their shows that they meet Melissa, an older writer, who is fascinated by the pair.
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.
Following the publication of “Conversations with Friends,” Irish author Sally Rooney was awarded the Sunday Times Writer of the Year Award in 2017. The adaptation of her second novel "Normal People" debuted in 2020 starring Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones and was met with great critical acclaim.
Element Pictures is once again collaborating with Irish director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Alice Birch who will work alongside writers Mark O’Halloran (Rialto), Meadhbh McHugh (Asking For It), and Susan Soon He Stanton (Succession) on the 12-part drama for BBC Three in partnership with Hulu.
Filming will take place this year in Dublin, Belfast and international locations yet to be confirmed, with the Oscar-nominated director at the helm of Normal People, Lenny Abrahamson (Room, The Little Stranger, Frank) returning and sharing the directorial duties with Leanne Welham (Pili, His Dark Materials).
Lenny Abrahamson, Executive Producer and Director, said: “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.”
Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, said: "Lenny's deep affinity for Sally's writing and talent for finding actors to bring her fictional creations to life played a huge part in bringing Normal People so successfully to screen.
"In casting Alison, Sasha, Joe, and Jemima, that same flair and instinct is in evidence and we cant wait to see how they will bring Frances, Bobbi, Nick, and Melissa to life"
Dermot Horan, RTÉ’s Director of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, said: "Normal People was such a phenomenal hit on RTÉ last spring, and has broken all records on the RTÉ Player. We're so delighted to once again work with Element, on this new exciting new production."
Endeavor Content is handling worldwide sales. Conversations with Friends will premiere on BBC Three and air on BBC One. It will air next year on the BBC, Hulu, and RTÉ.