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Conversations With Friends - What We Know So Far

Irish writer Sally Rooney is easily one of the most popular authors out there right now, with her literary fiction exploring the relationships amongst young people drawing in readers of all ages from all over the world. In the U.S., her second novel, "Normal People" — a highly anticipated followup to her acclaimed debut of 2017, "Conversations with Friends" — sold almost 64,000 copies, not including ebooks, in just about four months in 2018 (via Vox).

The popularity of "Normal People" only continued to grow with the release of a miniseries adaptation of the same name that premiered on Hulu and BBC Three in April of 2020. The series was a massive hit among both fans and critics, and even received a few Primetime Emmy nominations. 

As it turns out, the success of "Normal People" was expected, leading BBC to commit to adapting Rooney's other novel, "Conversations with Friends" into a miniseries before "Normal People" even premiered, way back in February of 2020 (via Deadline). In June 2020, following the anticipated success of "Normal People," Deadline announced that Hulu had signed on to team up with BBC once again to produce and stream "Conversations with Friends." The new series will have 12 episodes and will be directed by Lenny Abrahamson, who also directed half the episodes of "Normal People." Here's what else we know so far about "Conversations with Friends," including its release date, cast, and plot.

When will Conversations with Friends be released?

As of now, there is no official release date for "Conversations with Friends," but several outlets, including Harper's Bazaar, report that the series is set to be released sometime in 2022. We do know that filming has begun, as of a couple months ago. On April 26th, the official "Conversations with Friends" Twitter page posted a photo of a clapperboard for Episode 1 and writing, "It's Day 1 of filming #ConversationswithFriends in Northern Ireland! We're so excited to bring this world to life."

For a better guess as to when "Conversations with Friends" may be making its way to our TVs, we can look to "Normal People" as an example. "Normal People" was reported to have begun filming in May of 2019 (via RTE). The series then premiered in April of 2020, just about a year after the start of filming. Going off of this, it looks like we can expect the "Conversations with Friends" release date to fall somewhere around April of 2022.

Who will be in Conversations with Friends?

In February of 2021, the main cast of "Conversations with Friends" was announced, much to the delight of the book's fans. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, the lead role of Frances — the book's protagonist and narrator — will be portrayed by newcomer Alison Oliver (in fact, "Conversations with Friends" is her first acting credit ever). Frances's best friend — and former girlfriend — Bobbi will be played by Sasha Lane, who made her film debut in 2016's "American Honey" and has since been in films such as 2018's "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" as well as the Amazon Prime series "Utopia."

The main cast is rounded out by Joe Alwyn and Jemima Kirke, who will play Nick and Melissa, a married couple whose lives become integrated with Frances's and Bobbi's. Alwyn is known for his supporting roles in films such as 2018's "The Favourite" and "Mary Queen of Scots," while Kirke is best known for her role as the enigmatic Jessa on HBO's "Girls."

What will Conversations with Friends be about?

Rooney's novel centers on Frances, a 21-year-old college student who writes performs spoken word poetry with her best friend and former ex-girlfriend, Bobbi. One night, they're noticed by a writer-photographer named Melissa, a sophisticated older woman. As Melissa writes a profile on the young performers, Frances and Bobbi soon find themselves becoming immersed in Melissa's life — and after meeting Melissa's husband, Nick, a semi-famous actor, Frances soon realizes that her attraction to him is mutual. Before long, the two begin a secret affair.

As of now, it's unclear which details — if any — will be changed for the screen. If "Normal People" is any indication, the "Conversations with Friends" adaptation will be incredibly faithful to its source material. In a piece listing out the key differences between book and show, Mashable calls the "Normal People" adaptation a "loyal retelling." The piece reads, "The scripting, the casting, the attention to detail — as far as adaptations go, the series is a book lover's dream."

Considering that many of the creative team members from "Normal People" are involved with "Conversations with Friends" — including director Abrahamson and screenwriter Alice Birch — it's likely the new series will be just as faithful to the book (via Town and Country). Rooney, who is also herself involved, said in a statement upon the news of the adaptation, "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."