The cast for BBC Three and Hulu’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Conversations With Friends has been confirmed.
Newcomer and Lir Academy graduate Alison Oliver, who attended the same college as Normal People star Paul Mescal, will lead the series as Frances, with Sasha Lane (American Honey) starring as her ex-girlfriend and best friend Bobbi.
The series will follow Frances and Bobbi as they become entwined in a complex affair with an older couple. Jemima Kirke (Girls) will star as the enigmatic writer Melissa, while Joe Alwyn (The Favourite) will play her partner Nick, an actor.
The series will explore the coming of age of 21-year-old college student Frances, who is intellectual and reserved, and her self-assured and outspoken best friend Bobbi. When they meet Melissa at a spoken word poetry event, the experienced writer becomes enamoured by the fascinating young pair.
As they get to know each other more intimately, Bobbi and Melissa begin to openly flirt, but it is Frances who embarks on a surprising and intense secret affair with Melissa’s handsome yet aloof husband Nick. The passionate affair soon begins to test the close friendship between Frances and Bobbi.
Element Pictures, the team behind the hugely successful Normal People, will be once again collaborating with the RTS-Award winning director Lenny Abrahamson (Room) to create the series. Director Leanne Welham (His Dark Materials) will be sharing the directorial duties with Abrahamson. Writer Alice Birch will be teaming up with fellow writers Mark O’Halloran (Rialto), Meadhbh McHugh (Asking For It) and Susan Soon He Stanton (Succession) to adapt Rooney’s debut novel.
Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, commented: "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."
Lenny Abrahamson, Executive Producer and Director, added: “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," he continued. "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.”
Filming for Conversations With Friends will take place in Dublin, Belfast and other international locations this year.
Read our interview with series director Lenny Abrahamson here.