Heartbreak, romance and complicated relationships — Normal People is about to get a run for its money when Conversations With Friends finally hits the small screen.
The limited series, based on Sally Rooney‘s bestselling debut by the same name, centers on Frances and her ex-girlfriend-turned-best friend Bobbi who become romantically entwined with an older, married couple in their 30s. Despite breaking up three years before the story’s beginning, Frances and Bobbi are still inseparable — and together they are charmed by Melissa, an older, more confident writer. Through her, the women meet Melissa’s handsome actor husband, Nick, and the foursome begin an intense flirtation that will test the bonds between both couples.
“You have these various permutations within that quartet of relationships and power dynamics and attraction,” director Lenny Abrahamson told Vanity Fair about the series in February 2022. “But all of it revolves around Frances.”
The 2017 novel frequently utilizes text messages and emails to illustrate the changing dynamics between Frances, Bobbi, Melissa and Nick, but Rooney teased that the adaptation of Conversations With Friends will approach things from a different angle. “I’m confident we’re going to find fresh and interesting ways of dramatizing the novel’s dynamics, and I’m excited to watch the process take shape,” the author said in a February 2020 statement.
Ahead of filming, the cast got to know one another through months of Zoom auditions and meetings, as well as being forced to isolate together in Belfast, Ireland. “The only people we could hang out with were each other,” Joe Alwyn, who plays Nick, told Vanity Fair. “We were lucky that we all got on really well.”
Jemima Kirke, who plays his wife Melissa, agreed. “What became more and more apparent the more we shot was that we were all really well cast—it was almost like there was some sort of conspiracy that we weren’t aware of, and suddenly we found ourselves in, like, a Hitchcock movie in a room all together,” she explained.
“It was almost like [the casting directors] had a sense of humor, or they just weren’t telling us everything,” the Girls alum continued. “There was an essential piece about each of us as people that were shared with the character.”
The cast didn’t only connect to one another, but also to their fictional counterparts. “Because [Sally’s] writing is so intimate and sensitive and so characterful, I felt so attached to the book and like I really knew these people. So then getting an audition was so surreal, because in my head it was like,’These are real people!’” Alison Oliver, who stars as Frances, confessed during a Television Critics Association Panel in February 2022.
Keep scrolling to find out everything we know about Conversations With Friends ahead of its premiere this spring: