The newest Sally Rooney novel adaptation, Conversations with Friends, will premiere on the BBC this Sunday. Since the trailer dropped in April, the series release has been eagerly anticipated. This comes after the hugely successful BBC adaptation of Rooney’s bestselling book Normal People, which was the seventh highest selling book in Ireland last year and is a YA fiction must-have. Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal were electrifying as lovers Marianne and Connell and have set the bar high for this new story.
Like Normal People, Conversations with Friends, follows a group of Irish millennials and is based around relationships and the complex challenges many young people face, along with some teen lust thrown in there, of course. The story follows college students Frances (Alison Oliver) and Bobbi (Sasha Lane) – best friends and poets who were formerly in a relationship and are navigating their way through life as young adults. They create a friendship with an older couple, Melissa (Jemima Kirke) and Nick (Joe Alwyn), who whisk them into adult life. While Melissa and Bobbi flirt, Frances and Nick begin a secret and intense affair.
Joe Alwyn, who plays Nick, has been seen before playing Bob Cratchett in the BBC’s 2019 version of a Christmas Carol. However, he’s more commonly known as Taylor Swift’s other half, and co-writer of her album Folklore. His character in Conversations with Friends is handsome but reserved.
Newcomer Alison Oliver, who’s playing Frances, only graduated herself last year and the only professional credit she has is performing in a socially-distanced theatre to an audience of 10 in Dublin last summer. Like Normal People did for Paul Mescal, I have a feeling this show will be the kickstart of her career.
25-year-old Sasha Lane will play “self-assured and outspoken” Bobbi – Frances’ ex-girlfriend and best friend. Lane was cast as the lead in award winning 2016 film American Honey and has since had some TV roles.
Finally, Jemima Kirke, playing Nick’s wife Melissa, is known for playing Jessa in the series Girls, and more recently joining the Sex Education cast as the new headmistress.
What we can expect
So, with everything we know so far we can expect Conversations with Friends to live up to the high expectations of Normal People and have us feeling a whole new set of emotions as an audience. It’s the unconventional romance of falling for someone you can’t have, alongside trying to keep friendships and finding the line between friends and a relationship. As the series tagline says, ‘It’s never just friends.’