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


CONVERSATIONS WITH… Joe Alwyn

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

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do you have a list of all the film festivals that joe is/might be going to later this year? i know i've seen several announcements about catherine called birdy and the stars at noon but i can't remember when/where

Catherine Called Birdy will premiere at TIFF (Sept 8-18)

Stars at Noon will be at Deauville American Film Festival (Sept 2-11) and just announced at New York Film Festival (Sept 30-Oct 16)

New York Film Festival Unveils 2022 Slate With

Hey there! Do you perhaps know when Joe is filming again?

Hi! his next project Hamlet is supposed to start filming after the summer

where did you go bestie? hope you had fun!

was visiting my family in Nova Scotia, I had a good time! '

OMG! I'm glad you're OK. I really worried about you because you weren't online and I couldn't see your website for a while...anyway when I was interested in Joe in 2018, I found your page and you made me obsessed with Joe and now I'm a biggest fan of Joe and YOU! I’m always looking forward to hearing from you when I get Joe contents and hope you had a great vacation!

oh yeah i had kinda forgotten to renew the domain lol… but it’s all good now! thank you this is so sweet!!! ''

Joe Alwyn Photographed By Victoria Stevens At

Joe Alwyn photographed by Victoria Stevens at Cannes Film Festival x

Hello

hello!! '

Lena Dunhams Catherine Called Birdy To Premiere

Lena Dunham's medieval kids comedy film "Catherine Called Birdy" is set… [more]

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tunaa13:

so I've been keeping this for about two months now and I thought folklore's 2nd anniversary would be appropriate to reveal it :)

I TRAVELED 14 HOURS IN A DAY TO MEET JOE ALWYN!!!!!!!!!!!!! not to flex but I have a signed folklore now by william bowery 😏

It was one of… [more]

Convosonhulu Hear From The Men Of The Rooneyverse

convosonhulu Hear from the men of the Rooneyverse! Don't miss an exclusive chat with @joe.alwyn and Paul Mescal tomorrow, as they talk about #ConversationswithFriends and #NormalPeople. ❤️

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