Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends release date: Cast, trailer and episodes

The Normal People author's first novel will be adapted into a 12-part series for BBC Three.

Alison Oliver

The upcoming BBC adaptation of Conversations with Friends – Normal People writer Sally Rooney’s debut novel – has found its young cast, and is set to beginning filming in Dublin this year.

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The cast was announced in February 2021, with newcomer Alison Oliver set to play the lead role of 21-year-old college student Frances. American Honey’s Sasha Lane will play her ex-girlfriend, now outgoing best friend, Bobbi.

Meanwhile Joe Alwyn (The Favourite) and Jemima Kirke (Girls, Sex Education) play Nick and Melissa, the couple that throws a wrench into Frances and Bobbi’s friendship.

US streaming service Hulu has now also boarded the project, an adaptation of Rooney’s novel of the same name and helmed by the same team behind the acclaimed Normal People.

“Sally Rooney perfectly and beautifully captures the complicated dynamics of relationships in her stories,” Hulu boss Beatrice Springborn said in a statement.

“After bringing that to life in Normal People to an overwhelmingly positive response, we are honoured to do the same with Conversations with Friends.”

Alice Birch, who co-wrote the Normal People adaptation with Rooney, will serve as head writer on Conversations with Friends. Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson will also helm the series – a very good sign for fans of the series. Rooney will serve as executive producer.

Conversations with Friends is the writer’s debut novel, first published back in 2017 to strong reviews across the board.

Here’s everything you need to know about the television adaptation…

When is Conversations with Friends on TV?

There’s no confirmed release date for Conversations with Friends just yet.

The series will begin filming in Dublin this year, and will be co-directed by Normal People’s Lenny Abrahamson and Leanne Welham (His Dark Materials).

We’ll keep you updated with any developments.

What is Conversations with Friends about?

Conversations with Friends introduces us to Frances and Bobbi, a creative couple living in Dublin who perform spoken word poetry. They are discovered by an older woman named Melissa, a journalist who invites them into her home and helps to get their name out.

Frances quickly develops a complex relationship with Melissa’s husband Nick, despite the fact he initially seems the personification of everything she’s against. As they become increasingly involved, Frances sees her other personal relationships spiral out of control – including her long-term connection with Bobbi.

The novel was praised for being an interesting exploration of love and relationships with a witty sense of humour.

Announcing the adaptation in February, BBC exec Piers Wenger said: “It was a decision that made itself. We will commission work from Sally Rooney for as long as she writes it. We think she’s such an exciting voice, in the way that she’s able to write about young people’s lives in a really direct and authentic way, is – her work speaks for itself, really.”

Is Normal People a prequel or sequel to Conversations with Friends?

BBC Three's Normal People

No, the two books are not directly connected, although they both explore themes of love and strained relationships.

But the same core team who made the Normal People TV drama at production company Element Pictures will be working together again to bring Conversations with Friends to our screens.

Normal People co-producer Ed Guiney has confirmed he is working on Conversations with Friends alongside director Lenny Abrahamson, who directed Normal People alongside Hettie McDonald and now continues his association with Sally Rooney for a second time.

Normal People co-writer Alice Birch will return to write several episodes, with further screenwriters yet to be announced.

Conversations with Friends cast

In February 2021 it was announced that newcomer Alison Oliver was set to play the lead role of 21-year-old college student Frances. American Honey’s Sasha Lane her best friend, Bobbi.

Meanwhile Joe Alwyn (The Favourite) and Jemima Kirke (Sex Education, Girls) play accomplished older couple Nick and Melissa.

We also know that Academy Award-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (Room), who co-directed Normal People based on Rooney’s other novel, will return for this adaptation.

Abrahamson said: “I love Conversations With Friends, its depth, humour and freshness, and it’s an honour to be involved in bringing it to the screen. 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.”

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