17th Feb 2021
If you have found yourself rewatching Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People because it was one of the few good TV shows to come out last year (that and I May Destroy You made for the best television in 2020, I don’t care that the Golden Globes thinks of Emily in Paris), well there’s something exciting on the horizon.
Following Normal People’s success, director Lenny Abrahamson has decided to pick up Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends as his next TV project, collaborating with the BBC and Hulu once again, with much of the same production team.
They have just announced the cast, with Cork actress Alison Oliver set to play Frances, American actress Sasha Lane will play Frances’ best friend and ex, Bobbi. Oliver is an emerging talent from the Lir Academy, where Paul Mescal also trained.
With two relative newcomers selected for the central characters, production has opted for two heavyweights to play the older couple with whom Frances and Bobbi become entangled. Joe Alwyn from The Favourite (and yes, T. Swift’s boyfriend) will play the bored yet charming Nick, while Jemima Kirke from Girls will be Melissa, the journalist who catches Bobbi’s eye.
The book is a coming-of-age story, where relationships, romantic and otherwise, become blurred and broken in a witty, whip-smart drama. Frances, a bright student with aspirations of being a writer, has been best friends (and sometimes more) with the aloof and beautiful Bobbi since their school days. Now at university and predominantly platonic, they are drawn into the lives of an older, sophisticated couple.
Struggling to manage these relationships and her maturing understanding of her own family, Frances struggles between the intellectual certainties she has relied on all her life, and her own emotions, frailties and desires.
Filming is set to take place this year in Dublin and Belfast, with international locations for the holiday scenes yet to be determined. Lenny Abrahamson will take up the directing role yet again, this time shared with Leanne Welham.
Abrahamson said, “I feel so excited to be collaborating with four such superb actors to bring Sally’s brilliant novel to the screen.”
Between this and Sally Rooney’s new novel, to be published in September, 2021 isn’t looking so bad after all.