Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn and Jemima Kirke to star in BBC Three’s Conversations with Friends
Staff Reporter | On 18, Feb 2021
Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn and Jemima Kirke are among the cast names confirmed for BBC Three’s adaptation of Conversations with Friends.
Following the hit success of Normal People, BBC Three is bringing another of Sally Rooney’s book to the screen – her debut novel, Conversations with Friends. The 12-part drama is adapted by Alice Birch (Normal People), Mark O’Halloran (Rialto), Meadhbh McHugh (Asking For It) and Susan Soon He Stanton (Succession), with Element Pictures (The Favourite, Room, The Lobster) producing and Lenny Abrahamson directing alongside His Dark Materials helmer Leanne Welham (Pili).
Now, they have found the people to bring the programme to life in front of the camera. Alison Oliver, an emerging talent from Lir Academy (whose graduates include Normal People’s Paul Mescal) will play Frances, Sasha Lane (American Honey, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post) will star as Bobbi, Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, A Christmas Carol) as Nick and Jemima Kirke (Sex Education, Girls) as Melissa.
Conversations With Friends follows Frances (Alison Oliver), a 21 year old college student, as she navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time. Frances is observant, cerebral and sharp. Her ex-girlfriend, now best friend, Bobbi (Sasha Lane) is self-assured, outspoken and compelling. Though they broke up three years ago, Frances and Bobbi are virtually inseparable and perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin. It’s at one of their shows that they meet Melissa (Jemima Kirke), an older writer, who is fascinated by the pair.
Bobbi and Frances start to spend time with Melissa and her husband, Nick (Joe Alwyn), a handsome but reserved actor. While Melissa and Bobbi flirt with each other openly, Nick and Frances embark on an intense, secret affair that is surprising to them both. Soon the affair begins to test the bond between Frances and Bobbi, forcing Frances to reconsider her sense of self, and the friendship she holds so dear.
Filming will take place this year in Dublin, Belfast and other international locations, with the series expected to air on BBC Three and BBC One next year.
Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, says: “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, adds: “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. 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.”
BBC Three to adapt Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends
25th February 2020
With BBC Three set to debut its adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People this spring, the online channel has announced it’s already at work on bringing the author’s other hit novel, Conversations with Friends, to the screen.
Rooney’s 2017 debut is a sharply intelligent story set in Dublin about two college students Frances and Bobbi, and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple, Melissa and Nick.
Following her work on Normal People, Alice Birch will be returning to write a number of episodes of Conversations with Friends, with further writers to be announced. The lead director will be Oscar-nominated Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson, who also helmed Normal People, along with Hettie McDonald. Completing the reunion, the new series will again be produced by Element Pictures.
Rooney says: “I am so pleased to be working with the team at Element, Lenny Abrahamson and the BBC to produce an adaptation of Conversations with Friends. I’m confident we’re going to find fresh and interesting ways of dramatising the novel’s dynamics, and I’m excited to watch the process take shape.”
Abrahamson says: “I love Conversations with Friends, its depth, humour and freshness, and it’s an honour to be involved in bringing it to the screen. I’m particularly happy that my connection to Sally and her work is set to continue. Making Normal People has been a singular pleasure and I’m excited to be working with the same brilliant team again.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “We are all addicted to Sally Rooney’s writing and will plunder her literary canon as long as she is writing. And so, on the back of the taut and tangled Normal People we are delighted that Sally has entrusted us, and the wonderfully talented people at Element Pictures, with her debut novel Conversations with Friends. To top it all Lenny Abrahamson has agreed to continue his association with Sally to direct.”
The 12-part half-hour drama will be executive produced by Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Emma Norton, Lenny Abrahamson and Sally Rooney, plus Rose Garnett and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC.
Filming dates and casting will be announced in due course.