A trailer has finally been released for the much-anticipated TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People
In Sally Rooney’s lauded, Man Booker-nominated Normal People (Faber & Faber, approx. €13.99, out now), she has written a novel even sweeter than her first.
School friends-with-benefits Marianne and Connell are, from the outside, opposites who attract and begin a romance that takes place in relatively ‘normal’ settings — in a bedroom, at a party. Connell’s mother is Marianne’s cleaner yet he is popular and she is not. He struggles despite this and when the tables turn and college years arrive, she blossoms while he is simply tolerated by those around him.
Related: Book review: Sally Rooney's beautiful coming-of-age love story
Simply put, it’s superb — and about so much more than a complex modern love story. Class, wealth, power and an innate understanding of the mistakes we make as human beings, it’s all here. It was made for the screen. And now, we have a small glimpse of our two main characters, thanks to a short preview released on Friday.
It isn't much other than a brief voiceover with a snapshot of some of the couple's intimate moments, but it sets the tone for the adaptation we're going to get – one very close to its source material.
BBC Three's Normal People, Based on Sally Rooney’s New York Times best selling novel, is coming soon to @BBCiPlayer.
— BBC Three (@bbcthree) January 17, 2020
Cast and crew
The preview notwithstanding, you can imagine the anticipation when a 12-part BBC adaptation was announced with Rooney herself co-writing the episodes and Room's Lenny Abrahamson down to direct. Howard’s End’s Hettie McDonald will share the directorial duties on the series, which will air on BBC Three and BBC One this year. Abrahamson has said he was "incredibly excited" to have the chance to bring the Booker-nominated material to life.
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The series, like the book, spans from 2011 to 2015, tracing the ever-shifting dynamics between Connell, played by Paul Mescal in his television debut, and Marianne played by Daisy Edgar Jones, as they move from high school through Trinity College Dublin. Also in the cast are Sarah Greene (who will play Connell's mother), and Aislín McGuckin from Outlander.
Filming took place in Dublin and County Sligo in Ireland, with the production then moving to Italy to film chapters set during a holiday.
“I don't know if they are necessarily always best for each other,” Edgar-Jones told Vanity Fair of the characters’ relationship, “but there's something about their relationship that they can't let go of.”
“My favourite scenes from the book generally took the form of conversations between the two protagonists — in abandoned houses, in apartment kitchens, in cars, and in bed,” Rooney writes for Vanity Fair. “I'm excited to see those dynamics beginning to unfold in a new way on the screen.”
Given that these intimate conversations in the novel – about everything and nothing at all – are a highlight, it does mean that regardless, we'll see the best of the book reworked for the small screen.
Normal People will be produced by Element Pictures, the production company behind The Favourite, The Lobster and Room.
The series might be a while away from its release but photographs have been released giving fans a first glimpse at some of the characters, more of which you can see below.
Main photograph: @VanityFair