TV & Movies

This First Look At Conversations With Friends Will Give You Chills

Here’s everything we know about the new Sally Rooney adaptation.

Alison Oliver as Frances in the BBC adaptation of 'Conversations With Friends'
BBC/Element Pictures/Hulu/Enda Bowe
By Bustle UK
Updated: 
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In 2020, Normal People became an immediate lockdown success. Between in-depth analysis of Connell’s chain and non-stop chatter about those sex scenes, the series, an adaptation of Sally Rooney's second novel, was huge. And so, when it was announced that the BBC was to officially to adapt another one of her works earlier this year, fans have been *patiently* waiting for more updates. A first glimpse of the new Conversations With Friends series was only just released this December, teasing the 2017 novel’s complicated love story between exes and best friends, Frances and Bobbi. Here’s everything we know so far.

Conversations with Friends Release Date

During a reunion Q&A for Normal People, Lenny Abrahamson (the director of both Normal People and Conversations With Friends) revealed that filming began back in March 2021. Back in March, the director was not entirely sure when the series would air, and it still seems we’re without an official 2022 release date. However, there are plenty of signs that a release date is coming very soon.

In a new teaser video unveiled December 2021, BBC revealed Conversations With Friends as one of its many new shows due to air in 2022. As mentioned, BBC also released the first look of Alison Oliver in the starring role of Frances, to help stir even more anticipation for the pending series.

After the pandemic slowed down production, Element Pictures and the BBC produced the 12 half-an-hour episodes of Conversations With Friends to air on the soon-to-relaunch BBC Three. Watch this space.

Is Conversations With Friends a sequel to Normal People?

No, but it does continue the theme of young people navigating adult relationships. Rooney’s debut novel is set in Dublin and follows the lives of students Frances and Bobbi. Smart, bold, and sensitive, they walk the very fine line of being exes and best friends. But their relationship is put under an intense microscope after they meet an enigmatic couple, Melissa and Nick. As they’re taken into their world of publishing parties, secret affairs, and emotional manipulation, it becomes clear they might be in over their heads. Rooney discussed topics of feminism, class, and growing up in Normal People and many of the same things are touched upon in Conversations with Friends.

However, although Conversations With Friends is not a continuation of the Normal People story, the two series are “cousins” according to executive producer, Ed Guiney, who told the Irish Times “...although they are cousins and connected by Sally, Lenny and Element, we want to make sure Conversations With Friends is very much its own unique thing…”

Lenny Abrahamson on the set of 'Normal People' BBC Three / Hulu

Still, Abrahamson was open to the idea of some sort of crossover. Asked during the reunion Q&A in March 2021 if the two shows would take place in the same universe – and if Marianne could pop up somewhere in the background – the director said: “Yes, that’s perfect! And Connell could be some moping boy in the background, licking his pencil. Now we’re talking, that’s gold!”

Conversations With Friends Cast

The cast for Conversations with Friendswas finally revealed in February, and includes a mixture of newcomers and familiar faces. Frances will be played by Alison Oliver, who went to the same drama school as Paul Mescal, per BBC News. Sasha Lane plays Bobbi, who you’ll recognise from American Honey and the U.S. remake of C4’s Utopia. As for Melissa and Nick, they’ll be played by Jemima Kirke and Joe Alwyn. Kirke starred in Girls as Jessa, and Alwyn is known for his roles in the 2019 adaptation of A Christmas Carol and The Favourite, as well as being Taylor Swift’s significant other.

Conversations With Friends Trailer

Although not an official trailer of the show itself, you can catch a glimpse of in this BBC teaser for their 2022 shows, below.

Additional reporting by Alice Broster, Orla Pentelow, & L’Oréal Blackett

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