Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends Is Coming to Hulu—Here’s What to Know
After striking gold with Normal People, Hulu is collaborating with the show’s creative team again to adapt Sally Rooney’s 2017 debut novel, Conversations with Friends, into a 12-episode limited series. With Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Alice Birch taking the lead, and BBC Three coproducing, the stars are aligned for another streaming sensation.
“Sally Rooney perfectly and beautifully captures the complicated dynamics of relationships in her stories,” Hulu’s vice president of content, Beatrice Springborn, said in a statement, per Entertainment Weekly, adding that the platform is “honored” to bring another one of Rooney’s works to life, especially after the “overwhelmingly positive response” to Normal People.
Much like Normal People, Conversations with Friends is all about the complicated nature of modern relationships—their messiness, their ambiguity, and the many forms of love and dependency. Rooney’s 2017 novel follows two Dublin-based college students, Frances (the narrator) and her ex-girlfriend-turned-best friend, Bobbi, as they become romantically intertwined with an older, sophisticated married couple in their 30s.
According to Hulu, Frances, 21, is observant, cerebral, and sharp, while Bobbi is self-assured, outspoken, and compelling. They broke up three years ago, but they’re still inseparable, performing poetry together around Dublin. They meet Melissa, a writer, at one of their shows and start spending more time with her and her husband, Nick, a handsome but reserved actor. Their friendship with the older couple turns into flirtations, which leads to an intense secret affair that later tests the bond between Bobbi and Frances.
Rooney described the book as a “coming-of-age story,” but also noted the significance of its 2008 setting around the post-economic crash in Dublin. “[Even] though all the characters are completely fictional and their exploits are very much figments of my imagination, the world that they live in was and is very similar to the world that I was living in as I wrote the book,” she told PBS NewsHour.
The Release Date
Conversations with Friends is slated for a 2022 release, premiering on Hulu in the United States and on BBC Three, and airing on BBC One in the United Kingdom.
Production will begin later in 2021 in Dublin, Belfast. International filming locations have not yet been confirmed, according to Hulu.
Newcomer Alison Oliver, graduate from Lir Academy (Normal People‘s Paul Mescal also went there) will play Frances. Sasha Lane (American Honey, The Miseducation of Cameron Post) will play Bobbi. Jemima Kirke (Girls) will play Melissa. Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, Mary Queen of Scots) will play Nick.
If the Conversations with Friends series reaches Normal People levels of popularity, no doubt its leads will be propelled into stardom like Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones were.
Abrahamson (also the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind 2015’s Room) will direct with Leanne Welham (Pili, His Dark Materials). Producer and screenwriter Birch, who wrote almost all the Normal People episodes, is writing here, too, along with Mark O’Halloran (Rialto), Meadhbh McHugh (Asking for It), and Susan Soon He Stanton (Succession).
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