When Normal People, based on the 2018 novel by Sally Rooney, became a hit on both sides of the pond on BBC Three and Hulu, it was as much a surprise to critics as it was to audiences. The Irish romantic drama between Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal) struck such a chord that the two are going back to the well for a second helping of Rooney's stories for 2022. The second title, Conversations With Friends, is based on Sally Rooney's 2017 debut novel and once again produced by Element Pictures with director Lenny Abrahamson at the helm.
Unlike Normal People, which was more traditionally focused on a single couple struggling to make the jump from high school relationship to adulthood, Conversations With Friends focuses on a foursome: two BFFs, and a couple. There's Frances, the narrator, a college-aged struggling spoken word poet in Dublin; Bobbi, her best friend, and a fellow struggling college-aged poet, and married couple Melissa and Nick, who are in their 30s. Though the relationship begins with Frances and Bobbi as the kind of best girlfriends that borders on romantic, it's Melissa who Bobbi eventually hooks up with, while Frances winds up in an affair with Nick.
With the twelve-part series planned to arrive on both sides of the pond as a binge release in May 2022, Hulu introduced it as one of their panels during the winter edition of the Television Critics Association press tour. As part of the discussion, Abrahamson talked about the similarities between the two projects. "There's a strong family resemblance between the two because of Sally's attention to details and the way she focuses on small things that have big effects on people's lives. That does push towards an intimate style in the filmmaking, and we didn't want to turn that on its head just for the sake of it. But it does have its own very distinct personality."
Here's the first look at the trailer:
The synopsis is as follows:
The 12-part drama follows Frances and Bobbi, two virtually inseparable spoken word poets in Dublin who used to date. At one of their shows, they meet Melissa, an older writer, who is fascinated by the pair. Bobbi and Frances start to spend time with Melissa and her husband, Nick, a handsome but reserved actor. While Melissa and Bobbi flirt with each other openly, Nick and Frances embark on an intense, secret affair that is surprising to them both.
The series stars newcomer Alison Oliver as the lead character of Frances, with Sasha Lane (Loki) as Bobbi Connolly. Joe Alwyn (The Favourite) plays Nick Conway with Jemima Kirke (Girls) as his wife, Melissa Conway. Writer Alice Birch, who worked with Rooney to adapt Normal People, also wrote Conversations With Friends along with Mark O'Halloran (Rialto), Meadhbh McHugh (Asking For It), and Susan Soon He Stanton (Succession). As before, Rooney consulted and worked with the production to adapt her novel.
Conversations With Friends will arrive with all 12 episodes on BBC Three, Hulu, and Ireland's RTÉ in May 2022.