All posts in Conversations with Friends

Joe discusses the upcoming series Conversations with Friends in the May 2022 issue of Elle UK. Read the full interview below:


The British actor is here to steal our hearts in the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s book. Katie O’Malley meets the man giving Paul Mescal a run for his money

IF ANYTHING SUMS UP THE ABSURDITY of trying to find new ways to work during the pandemic, it might be the way that Joe Alwyn met his Conversations with Friends co-star, Alison Oliver. “A few months before shooting, Lenny [Abrahamson, the director] wanted us to meet with him, so we ended up both staying in an empty hotel during lockdown,” he says. “It felt like The Shining.” But it’s thanks, perhaps, to Northern Ireland’s lockdown restrictions that Alwyn and his co-stars (Oliver, Jemima Kirke and Sasha Lane) were able to form the tight-knit bond needed to depict the intense relationships of their characters in the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends. “We all hung out loads,” he says, recalling hikes along the Giant’s Causeway and spending time at Abrahamson’s home.
The 12-part series, out this month, is an exploration of the complex, intertwining love stories between four unlikely individuals – two university students (Frances and Bobbi) and a married couple (Melissa and Nick). “It was a no-brainer,” London-born Alwyn says of the opportunity to pay Nick — a pained, quiet actor who navigates an affair with timid Frances while still in love with self-assured Melissa.
“He’s gone through a bit of a storm and is in a place of recovery. He’s numb to the world.” Today, the 31-year-old couldn’t be more different from the meek on-screen character. Speaking to me via Zoom from his home in North London, he’s warm and self-effacing. Addressing the discomfort of the students in the ‘adult’ settings of the story, Alwyn says he can relate to the characters’ gawkiness. “It’s definitely a familiar feeling — that sense of being out of your depth.”
It took just five days after sending in his audition tapes for Alwyn to learn that he’d landed the role. “I was so excited, I went to my parents’ house for drinks,” he says. The son of a psychotherapist and a documentary filmmaker, Alwyn developed a passion for acting at an early age. “I was Snowy the dog in The Adventures of Tintin,” he laughs, recalling his roles in school plays. Despite since starring in award-winning films such as Boy Erased and The Favourite, he admits he has not been immune to “struggle” in his career.
“It’s such a weird job. It’s full of so much confusion, rejections and ups and downs.” One of the downs is undoubtedly the public’s interest in his own life (Alwyn has been dating Taylor Swift since 2016). He still finds it hard to understand why sharing, rather than protecting, one’s private life is the expectation. “It’s not really [because I] want to be guarded, it’s more a response to something else,” he shrugs. “We live in a culture that is increasingly intrusive. The more you give — and frankly, even if you don’t give it — something will be taken.”
The success of the BBC’s Normal People — which swept the board at 2020s BAFTAs and Golden Globes — has set high expectations for Conversations, especially with the stories’ shared sensibilities. “But at the same time, it’s very different,” Alwyn says, noting that above all, he wants the new series to provoke debate. “[Rooney] never ties things up neatly at the end, which is one of the reasons I love [her books].”
While he’s yet to meet Rooney — he sent her a “fan message” after being cast — the actor has long appreciated her work. “She’s such a perceptive writer,” he says. In a similar vein to Normal People’s Connell and Marianne, played by Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones respectively, Alwyn says there’s a lot said in the unsaid between Nick and Frances.
“That’s very much part of Sally’s books,” he notes. “[They] really struggle with self-expression, and Nick finds it deeply irritating — he wishes he knew how to communicate better.” It looks like this series will make as many waves as its predecessor, but with upcoming roles in The Stars at Noon opposite Margaret Qualley, and Lena Dunham’s new film, Catherine, Called Birdy, it’s Alwyn who is set to make the biggest splash of all. Conversations With Friends is out in May

Two teaser trailers of Conversations with Friends have been shared by Hulu and BBC ahead of the premiere this May! Check them out below. Joe also attended Hulu’s panel at TCA 2022 on February 8 where the cast and creators of the show discussed the show. Joe said about the series and author Sally Rooney:

I think people can do whatever they want that makes them happy. I’m obviously happy in a monogamous relationship, but I think one of the interesting things about Sally’s writing is exploring the ideas of happiness and love and desire and intimacy outside of the constructs we’ve created for ourselves, whether that’s friendships or families or relationships. As a conversation, it’s endlessly fascinating and one of the reasons why people love her books and her refusal to — without giving things away — tie things up at the end of her stories. It’s just constantly thought-provoking.

The cast and creators of Conversations with Friends have done an interview with Vanity Fair, talking about the show and the filming process. Read the interview below and check out some promotional photos of the cast: Joe Alwyn as Nick, Alison Oliver as Frances, Sasha Lane as Bobbi, and Jemima Kirke as Melissa. The show is set to premiere this Spring.


Conversations With Friends: Inside the Intimate, Intense TV Adaptation

Following the smash of Normal People, the next Sally Rooney adaptation is on the way. Be ready for something different.
It’s a scene that, on paper, doesn’t sound like much: One character saying hello to another, and offering to grab them a drink. But in Conversations With Friends—both the book and Hulu/BBC Three’s upcoming 12-episode adaptation—the smallest of interactions carry the most weight. They’re the whole point. So when it was time to shoot the moment where Melissa (Jemima Kirke) greets her new friends Frances (Alison Oliver) and Bobbi (Sasha Lane), director Lenny Abrahamson didn’t rush. “It took 10 hours,” Kirke reveals of filming the scene. “I was so impressed with that—that he gave a shit. There was something at stake here.”

You could say so. Conversations With Friends is the highly anticipated follow-up to Normal People, Abrahamson’s previous adaptation of a Sally Rooney best seller. That series introduced two stars in Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, captivated millions of viewers around the world, and earned major nominations at the Emmys and the BAFTAs.

Rooney actually published the Normal People novel after Conversations, though. At that point, the latter book was already in development as a feature with Element Pictures—the same company that’d later back the Normal People series. “The making of Normal People unlocked the proper way of adapting Conversations With Friends,” says Element cofounder Ed Guiney. “[The story was] better told in a longer form that allows you to properly live with the characters and understand their choices.”

Much of Normal People’s creative team has reunited for Conversations, hoping lightning will strike twice, just as it did for Rooney—if only in reverse order. Along with Element, Abrahamson is back as a director and executive producer, this time splitting helming duties with Leanne Welham. Alice Birch returns as writer after sharing scripts on the previous series with Rooney herself. (Rooney was involved in early planning stages, but not involved in the scripts or filming of Conversations With Friends.)

The two series share a certain focus on biting, naturalistic dialogue and performances. But where Normal People played out as an intimate romantic drama, Conversations revels in the messy dynamics between four complicated characters. “What we’ve ended up with is something that has a kind of aesthetic family resemblance to the other series,” says Abrahamson, “but is definitely its own thing.”

Conversations With Friends centers on Frances, a 21-year-old English major in Dublin, and her tenuous bond with former-girlfriend, now-best-friend Bobbi. One night out, they meet Melissa, an accomplished author in her 30s. Before long they’re thrust into an intricate study of intermingling couples—Bobbi bonding fiercely with Melissa, while Frances and Melissa’s husband, well-known actor Nick (Joe Alwyn), navigate their own heated sexual connection. Frances is our eyes and ears through boozy dinner parties, a spontaneous Croatia getaway, and a budding secret affair. “You have these various permutations within that quartet of relationships and power dynamics and attraction,” says Abrahamson. “But all of it revolves around Frances.”

The series is largely faithful to its source material, though it increasingly establishes itself independently in both plot and mood. One immediate point of departure: Bobbi is a Black American here, slowly picking up Irish phrases as she’s spent a few years away from home in New York. “Lenny and I had a lot of conversations about where she’s from, how much where she came from is spoken about,” Sasha Lane tells me. “We wanted to keep Bobbi even further from the rest of them. Letting her have an American accent kept her a bit more singled out.” Adds Abrahamson: “We saw brilliant people, but there was just something about Sasha. There are few people who capture that quality that Bobbi is described as having in the novel—this kind of extraordinariness, this impact.” He says that his team was also “keen to represent the diversity in modern Ireland.”

Unlike Normal People, Conversations is populated with well-known actors, from Lane (American Honey, Loki) to Kirke (Girls) and Alwyn (The Favourite, producer on his partner Taylor Swift’s Folklore). Each brings a certain charismatic familiarity to their roles. But in keeping with the theme of trying to build off Normal People’s success, casting a “name” for the lead character didn’t interest producers. Instead, they made another discovery.

Alison Oliver’s audition for Conversations With Friends felt more like a documentary. She’d recently read the Rooney novel—“my first lockdown book”—after zipping through Normal People. She was a student at the Lir Academy of Trinity College, the main setting for both of those books, and the same school where Paul Mescal studied before Normal People catapulted him to fame. She had zero onscreen credits. The world Rooney described in her stories—deciding who you want to be, navigating a fraught friendship, growing into adulthood—was Oliver’s. She knew it intimately; she was living it. “When it came to auditioning, it was so odd, because I felt like Frances was a real person,” Oliver says with a laugh. “I was like, Oh, how am I going to step inside this?”

Yet for Abrahamson and Guiney, Oliver emerged quickly as the one to beat. Her delicate, wrenching performance marks a major screen-acting debut. “She really is an incredible actor,” Guiney says.

Oliver read early, and the producers convinced her to hang around for a lengthy casting process. “She very patiently helped us with chemistry reads with other actors,” says Guiney. Through those grouped Zoom auditions, the rest of the ensemble filled out. “We had a few months just to get to know each other by Zoom before shooting,” Alwyn says. (Like Oliver, he had already read, and loved, Rooney’s first two novels before the project came his way.) Abrahamson would join these calls often, too, as they all explored the complexities of Frances’s relationships. Rooney was also significantly involved in the casting process before stepping away to work on her since-published third novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You.

By the time filming finally started in Belfast last spring, the quartet of actors had a base familiarity with one another. That casual awareness swiftly deepened. Belfast was under lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19, after all, and the actors didn’t really know anyone else in town. “The only people we could hang out with were each other,” Alwyn says with a chuckle. “We were lucky that we all got on really well.” Production lasted about six months altogether. As Belfast started opening up, the cast would go to the pub or venture out for a hike for fun—before doing the same things, in character, for the camera.

Something unusual happened there. “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,” says Jemima Kirke. “It was almost like [the casting directors] had a sense of humor, or they just weren’t telling us everything. There was an essential piece about each of us as people that were shared with the character.”

On set, the group had constant conversations about how to approach character interactions—how Nick would look at Frances in one moment, how Bobbi would say something to Frances the next. “When we got together, it was a lot of, ‘Do you think they would say that when you did this? Or do you think I would look at you?’” recalls Sasha Lane. “It was also a bit of a struggle when you’re bouncing around episodes—I would just literally be like, Wait, do I like him yet? I don’t remember. Are we friends? I sometimes would forget where I was in the script. It’d be like, Wait, I’m supposed to be mad at you!”

Yet that also speaks to the singularity of Rooney’s prose—the way she can so realistically chart a change in mood, or dynamic, or feeling, with a single sentence. “When we had questions about things, we would always look back at what Sally had written, and move toward that,” Guiney says. The challenge, adds Abrahamson, “was constantly to make sure that the structure of the story was big enough to hold these two strong elements within Frances’ emotional life, and give them each their weight and their due, without allowing either to dominate.” For Oliver, this meant digging into as many nuanced aspects of Frances as she could: “I was seeing her in all these different lights and shades, and it felt like playing a different character sometimes.”

This required plenty of rethinking and back-and-forth—and still does, in fact, for Abrahamson in the editing room. There are expectations following the smash that was Normal People. “I don’t think anybody could have predicted, in our world of streamers, that it would’ve gone quite as brilliantly as it did in terms of people’s response, and it was really gratifying,” Abrahamson says. He and the team have stayed focused on making the best show they can, as opposed to topping what they did before. Says Guiney, “There’ll be a different response to Conversations With Friends, because it’s a different kind of show.”

Still, it’s all in the family.

Conversations With Friends premieres this spring on Hulu in the U.S. and BBC Three in the U.K.






Após o sucesso de Normal People,‘Conversations With Friends’ de Sally Rooney ganhou sua adaptação para TV e Joe está no elenco assim como Jemima Kirke, Sasha Lane e Alison Oliver.

A trama acompanha a história de duas estudantes universitárias de Dublin, Frances (Oliver) e Bobbi (Lane), e a estranha e inesperada conexão que elas estabelecem com o casal Melissa (Kirke ) e Nick (Alwyn).
Frances e Bobbi são ex-namoradas inseparáveis ​​que ficam fascinadas por Melissa e Nick a ponto de Nick e Frances embarcarem em um intenso caso secreto. Logo o caso começa a testar o vínculo entre Frances e Bobbi, forçando Frances a reconsiderar seu senso de identidade e sua amizade.

A direção da série está nas mãos de Lenny Abrahamson (“Normal People”), Alice Birch, que também esteve envolvida em Normal People , está a bordo como escritora ao lado de Mark O’Halloran ( Rialto ), Meadhbh McHugh ( Asking For It ) e Susan Soon He Stanton ( Sucessão ). Leanne Welham ( His Dark Materials ) é o outro diretor.

A produção começará este ano em Dublin, Belfast e locais internacionais ainda a serem confirmados. A série está programada para estrear em 2022 no Hulu nos EUA e na BBC Three / BBC One no Reino Unido.

Fonte | Tradução e Adaptação – Joe Alwyn Online

Joe has an exciting new project! A 12-part series adaptation of Conversations with Friends, written by the same author of Normal People, Sally Rooney. Joe, who is playing Nick, will be starring alongside Sasha Lane (Bobbi), Alison Oliver (Frances), and Jemima Kirke (Melissa). The show films this year in Dublin, Belfast, plus international locations and will air on BBC Three/BBC One and Hulu next year (2022)! Read more about the series below, via Element Pictures:

Following the outstanding success of Normal People, award-winning production company Element Pictures (The Favourite, Room, The Lobster) has today announced the highly anticipated casting for the BBC and Hulu TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s debut literary sensation, Conversations with Friends.

Alison Oliver, an emerging talent from Lir Academy (whose graduates include Normal People’s Paul Mescal) will play Frances, Sasha Lane (American Honey, The Miseducation of Cameron Post) will star as Bobbi, Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) as Nick and Jemima Kirke (Sex EducationGirls) as Melissa, in this unique series that is both a complex coming of age drama and a very modern love story.

Element Pictures is once again collaborating with director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Alice Birch who will work alongside writers Mark O’Halloran (Rialto), Meadhbh McHugh (Asking For It) and Susan Soon He Stanton (Succession) on the 12-part drama for BBC Three in partnership with Hulu.

Conversations with Friends follows Frances (Alison Oliver), a 21 year old college student, as she navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.

Frances is observant, cerebral and sharp. Her ex-girlfriend, now best friend, Bobbi (Sasha Lane) is self-assured, outspoken and compelling. Though they broke up three years ago, Frances and Bobbi are virtually inseparable and perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin. It’s at one of their shows that they meet Melissa (Jemima Kirke), an older writer, who is fascinated by the pair.

Bobbi and Frances start to spend time with Melissa and her husband, Nick (Joe Alwyn), 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. Soon the affair begins to test the bond between Frances and Bobbi, forcing Frances to reconsider her sense of self, and the friendship she holds so dear.

Filming will take place this year in Dublin, Belfast and international locations yet to be confirmed, with the Oscar-nominated director at the helm of Normal People,  Lenny Abrahamson (Room, The Little Stranger, Frank) returning and sharing the directorial duties with Leanne Welham (Pili, His Dark Materials).

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, says: “Lenny’s deep affinity for Sally’s writing and talent for finding actors to bring her fictional creations to life played a huge part in bringing Normal People so successfully to screen. In casting Alison, Sasha, Joe and Jemima, that same flair and instinct is in evidence and we cant wait to see how they will bring Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa to life

Lenny Abrahamson, Executive Producer and Director, comments: “I feel so excited to be collaborating with four such superb actors to bring Sally’s brilliant novel to the screen. Over the last few months it has been a privilege to work alongside Element Pictures and our extraordinary team of writers to get the scripts to a point where we all feel so excited to start shooting. I’ll be joined by a world class crew (many of whom worked on Normal People) and supporting cast and I’m particularly happy to have Leanne Welham come on board. I’ve been an admirer of her work for a long time and I have no doubt she will bring great skill and subtlety to the episodes she directs.”

Ed Guiney, Executive Producer and Company Director of Element Pictures, adds: Alison, Sasha, Joe and Jemima are the dream cast to lead Conversations With Friends and all of us at Element are so excited about the incredible scripts from our amazing team of writers which we have been developing with the oversight of the brilliant Lenny Abrahamson. We can’t wait to start filming with Lenny, Leanne and our wonderful cast and crew to bring Sally’s extraordinary novel to the screen.”


Endeavor Content is handling worldwide sales.  Conversations with Friends will premiere on BBC Three and air on BBC One. It will air next year on the BBC and on Hulu.



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