Normal People has taken over lockdown. Between in-depth analysis of Connell’s chain and non-stop chatter about *those* sex scenes, this series, an adaptation of Sally Rooney's second novel, has been huge. And now fans of Rooney's writing have reason to get excited again as the BBC is officially set to adapt another one of her works. So, when does the Conversations With Friends adaptation start? Her debut novel was released in 2017 and tells a complicated love story between exes and best friends, Frances and Bobbi. If you loved Normal People then this will be a series for you.
The BBC announced that it would be adapting more of Rooney’s work in February 2020 but, as of yet, there's no word on when it'll hit our TV screens. As of June 25, streaming service Hulu – which picked up the team’s successful Normal People adaptation – has announced a straight to series order on the Conversations with Friends adaptation principally produced by award-winning production company Element Pictures, in association with BBC Three. The announcement follows a string of critically-acclaimed book-to-screen adaptations on Hulu’s slate including The Handmaid’s Tale and Little Fires Everywhere, and, of course, the fan-favorite Hulu Original, Normal People, which ranks as one of Hulu’s most talked about Originals on social media in 2020.
“Sally Rooney perfectly and beautifully captures the complicated dynamics of relationships in her stories. After bringing that to life in Normal People to an overwhelmingly positive response, we are honoured to do the same with Conversations With Friends,” said Hulu’s Vice President of Content Beatrice Springborn.
Normal People has been such a resounding success onscreen and many of the people behind the production will return to work on Conversations with Friends. Academy Award nominee Lenny Abrahamson worked as one of the directors on Normal People and will take on the same role for Conversations With Friends. Similarly, Alice Birch will write a number of the episodes, as she did for Normal People. Speaking about working with Rooney again, Abrahamson said:
“I love Conversations With Friends, its depth, humour and freshness, and it’s an honour to be involved in bringing it to the screen. I’m particularly happy that my connection to Sally and her work is set to continue. Making Normal People has been a singular pleasure and I’m excited to be working with the same brilliant team again on Conversations With Friends.”
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. However, their relationship is put under an intense microscope after they meet 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.
Speaking about bringing her first novel to life onscreen Rooney said, "I’m 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."
In an interview with Digital Spy, co-producer of Normal People Ed Guiney was asked if there would be a second season of the show. He said, “Not in the short term. We've turned our attention – we're adapting Conversations with Friends as a television series." However, it may not be ruled out altogether as the publication said Abrahamson revealed that he has "a fantasy" of revisiting Marianne and Connell when they're 10 years older — "it'd be good."
While the production team are yet to cast the series, Element Pictures and the BBC will produce 12 half-an-hour episodes of Conversations With Friends to air on BBC Three. Watch this space.