Following the critical and commercial success of Normal People, Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson and Emmy-nominated writer Alice Birch are reteaming to adapt another Sally Rooney novel. This time, they'll bring Conversations with Friends, the author's literary debut, to the screen in this latest mini-series. Featuring a brand newcomer at the forefront and a few familiar faces, including Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn, and Jemima Kirke, in the other lead roles, this Hulu/BBC 3 limited series has some high expectations after Normal People's acclaim, and we know some key details about this forthcoming adaptation. Here's what we know about Hulu's Conservations with Friends.
Conversations With Friends Is Now Filming And Will Premiere On Hulu in 2022
Earlier this week, it was announced via Instagram that Conversations with Friends has officially started production in Northern Ireland ahead of its unspecified 2022 premiere date on Hulu and BBC Three. It's unclear how long filming will take, but the production will take place in Dublin, Belfast, and other international locations that haven't been publicly confirmed. If we can compare this upcoming show's shooting schedule to Normal People, the limited series will take at least a few months to film. Similar to Normal People, this show will tell its tale over the course of 12 episodes.
The Limited Series Will Star Newcomer Alison Oliver
You'd certainly be forgiven if you don't recognize Alison Oliver, the star of Hulu's latest Sally Rooney adaptation. The young, up-and-coming actress has received her breakout role in Conversations With Friends; she currently has no other film or TV titles on her resume. Recently, Oliver graduated from the prestigious Lir Academy in Dublin, which is the same drama school that Normal People's Paul Mescal attended (via Bustle), and she has only participated in stage productions prior to this show. Therefore, this limited series could certainly be the launching pad for Oliver's promising career. Hopefully, the young actress will make the most of this exciting new career-developing experience.
The Cast Also Includes Joe Alwyn, Sasha Lane, and Jemima Kirke
Alongside Alison Oliver, Conversations with Friends is also slated to star Joe Alwyn (The Favourite), Sasha Lane (American Honey), and Jemima Kirke (Girls) in key roles. More specifically, Lane will play Bobbi, Frances' self-assured, outspoken ex-girlfriend-turned-inseparable best friend, Kirke will play Melissa, an older writer who is fascinated by this sharp pair, and Alwyn will play Nick, Melissa's reserved actor husband who forms a relationship with Frances over the course of the narrative. From there, the titular conversations will turn into arguments, and Frances will need to figure out what she wants from life, which might cause rifts in her closest and dearest relationships.
Viewers might recognize Joe Alwyn from his starring role in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, as well as his supporting turns in Operation Finale, Boy Erased, Mary Queen of Scots, and Harriet. Additionally, Sasha Lane was seen in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Hellboy (2019), Daniel Isn't Real, and Hearts Beat Loud. Away from film, Lane starred in Amazon Prime's short-lived series, Utopia. Furthermore, Jemima Kirke is recognized for her performances in Tiny Furniture, The Little Hours, All These Small Moments, and last year's Sylvie's Love. Also, the actress appeared in Netflix's Maniac.
Conversations With Friends Follows A 21-Year-Old College Student Who Navigates A Series Of Relationships
As previously noted, Conversations with Friends is an inquisitive character piece that explores the romantic lives of its central four characters. More specifically, this story studies how an unexpected romance can reshape a developing young woman's life at an early age, and how a sporadic affair has a dramatic impact for four interconnected people. Similar to Sally Rooney's follow-up, Normal People, this debut follows a familiar template, but through its sharp wit, clever prose, and sparkly characters, it established Rooney as a bright, intuitive novelist worth discovering. Presenting honest, vulnerable characters caught in a stirring weeper of a romantic drama, Rooney's celebrated first novel will hopefully provide the sturdy framework for another engaging limited series.
Conversations With Friends Is The Award-Winning Debut Novel Of Normal People's Sally Rooney
While Normal People was the best-selling sophomore novel that turned Sally Rooney into a literary darling, her debut, Conservations with Friends, was also well-received, if not as well-read. Completed while the author was completing her master's degree in American literature, Conversations with Friends became the source of a seven-party auction for publishing rights. That's not shabby for a first-time author. Eventually finding its way into 12-plus countries, the novel was celebrated upon release, though it didn't have the same impact as Normal People. With the release of this new limited series, you should expect book lovers to check out this early publication in the months ahead.
Lenny Abrahamson Considers This Adaptation To Be A Sort Of ‘Cousin’ To Normal People
You should expect several similarities between Normal People and Conversations with Friends, according to Lenny Abrahamson. In a recent interview with RadioTimes, the director revealed that the filmmaking process for this new mini-series would be similar to his work in Normal People and that both shows share a similar DNA of sorts. That shouldn't come as a surprise considering that a similar creative team is adapting the same acclaimed author's work. But Abrahamson even went so far as to call Conversations with Friends the "kind of cousin" to Normal People, noting that you "can feel Sally's writing obviously" and that there are similarities in how they're adapting it, though there are also some differences.
The Limited Series Will Also Be Directed By BAFTA-Nominated Director, Leanne Welham
Along with Lenny Abrahamson calling the shots for this TV adaptation, Conversations with Friends will also be directed by Leanne Welham, the BAFTA-nominated filmmaker behind the acclaimed 2017 drama, Pili, which served as her feature directorial debut.
Away from this celebrated first feature, Leanne Welham helmed a series of short films, including 2014's Castaway and 2015's Occupy. Furthermore, the filmmaker has some television experience under her belt, too. More specifically, Welham directed a few episodes of HBO's His Dark Materials and BBC One's The Trial of Catherine Keeler in 2020. Additionally, in 2019, she helmed an episode of PBS's Endeavour. Outside of directing, Welham produced and edited the upcoming documentary, Keep on Running.
We'll keep you updated on Hulu's Conversations with Friends right here at CinemaBlend, in the meantime, there are plenty of new and returning shows lined up on the 2021 summer TV premiere schedule.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.