Normal People caused a sensation when it premiered on Hulu last April. By December, the 12-part adaptation of Sally Rooney’s 2018 novel had racked up 62.7 million views, making it the BBC’s most-streamed series of the year. And while its success protended some level of attention for Rooney’s next TV adaptation, Conversations With Friends, the network has ensured it’ll take center stage with an all-star cast announced on Wednesday. Whereas the stars of Normal People, Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones, were relatively unknown, the upcoming adaptation of Rooney’s debut novel will star Joe Alwyn and Jemima Kirke.
Kirke, of course, already has a standout TV role under her belt; her character Jessa was perhaps the most beloved in the cast of Girls. As for Alwyn, the series presents another opportunity for the 29-year-old to show off his acting chops. He was simply known for his mysterious relationship with Taylor Swift until a breakout performance in the 2018 film The Favourite, followed up by roles in Harriet and Boy Erased. (He’ll next star opposite Honor Swinton Byrne, who is the daughter of Tilda Swinton, in Joanna Hogg’s sequel to The Souvenir.)
Conversations With Friends will star Kirke and Alwyn as Melissa and Nick, a married couple. They become entangled with two Dublin-based college students, Frances and Bobbi, who are extremely close and used to date. The latter, played by American Honey star Sasha Lane, has a passionate affair with Nick, and the more things heats up, the more each relationship unravels. Rooney was just 26 when the novel published in 2017, catapulting her to fame.
Newcomer Alison Oliver will play Frances, who narrates the novel. She, like Rooney, is Irish, and will no doubt break out just like Edgar-Jones and Mescal. The 12-part series will premiere in 2022, and production will begin in Dublin and Belfast later this year.