Filming is now underway for BBC Three’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People.
Rising talents Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal will star in the new drama, with Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson at the helm.
Adapted by Rooney alongside writers Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe, Normal People is a 12-part drama for BBC Three in partnership with Hulu. Edgar-Jones (War Of The Worlds, Cold Feet) will play Marianne and Paul Mescal in his first television role will play Connell, in an exquisite and compulsive modern love story about how two people can profoundly impact each others’ lives.
Normal People tracks the tender but complicated relationship of Marianne and Connell from the end of their school days in small-town west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College. At school, he’s well-liked and popular, while she’s lonely, proud and intimidating. But when Connell comes to pick up his mother from her cleaning job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers – one they are determined to conceal. A year later, they’re both studying in Dublin and Marianne has found her feet in a new social world but Connell hangs at the side lines, shy and uncertain.
Filming will take place in Dublin, Sligo and Italy with Oscar nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (Room, The Little Stranger, Frank) and award-winning director Hettie McDonald (Howard’s End) sharing the directorial duties.
Rooney says: “As a long-time admirer of Lenny Abrahamson’s work, it’s a special privilege for me to be working alongside him on the adaptation of Normal People. I couldn’t be happier with the cast and team we’ve put together, and I’m very excited to watch them bringing new life to the story on screen.”
BBC Three to adapt Sally Rooney’s Normal People
28th August 2018
Sally Rooney’s upcoming novel Normal People will be adapted into a new TV series for BBC Three.
Directed by the Oscar-nominated Lenny Abrahamson (Room), it will be adapted by Rooney for the screen – just 18 months after her critically acclaimed debut novel, Conversations with Friends.
Normal People is an exquisite, modern love story about how one person can unexpectedly change another person’s life and about how complicated intimacy can be. Over several years, we follow Marianne and Connell – both from a small west of Ireland town, but from very different backgrounds – as they embark on an on-off romance that starts at school and continues through college, as they test their relationship, experiment with other partners and explore different versions of themselves.
The book is full of all the awkwardness, humour and confusion that accompanies love and sex and offers the opportunity to make a television show about being young that is frank, smart and intoxicating.
Rooney says: “I feel very privileged to be working with such an extraordinary team on the adaptation of Normal People. I’m looking forward to the challenge of working in a new form, and of thinking about these characters and their lives in new ways.”
Abrahamson adds: “Sally is a writer of the highest calibre and in ‘Normal People’ she captures the ebb and flow of intimacy and desire with extraordinary skill. I’m proud to be part of bringing her work to the screen audience it deserves.”
The series will be produced by Element Pictures (Room, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster).
Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three, comments: “At BBC Three we are 100% committed to providing a platform for fresh contemporary new voices like Sally Rooney. Her new novel Normal People is a wonderfully brilliant depiction of young love, friendship and the journey towards adulthood and I cannot wait to see how Sally, Lenny and the team bring it to life on screen for the BBC Three audience.”
Normal People will be published by Faber & Faber in September 2018 and has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018.
The news was announce by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, as part of a trio of new series, including emotional thriller The Nest, written by Nicole Taylor for BBC One, and Jan 22nd (working title), a landmark drama about sexual consent by Michaela Coel.
“I am honoured to be today announcing three brand new and contrasting dramas for BBC One, Two and Three,” he said, hailing Rooney as a writer who is “fast becoming the voice of her generation”.
Filming dates and casting will be announced in due course.