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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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Joe Alwyn Photographed By Scott Trindle For Arena

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what time will joe be at kelly today?

the taping started at 9:00 am PT which was an hour and a half ago

Joe Alwyn Alison Oliver Conversations With

Joe Alwyn & Alison Oliver - ‘Conversations with Friends’ Interview

Regular

to-need-somebody:

I ask Alwyn why he isn't very active on social… [more]

Conversations With Friends (2022) dir



Conversations With Friends (2022) dir

dinah-lance:

Conversations With Friends (2022) dir. Lenny Abrahamson

omg for anyone saying that taylor is a burden on joe’s career the director of CWF just shut that shit down so fast hahaha // wait what did he say

he really went in!!!! indie wire asked him about joe's personal life being a huge deal and what that meant for casting and working with him and he said:

Can't get over how absolutely gorgeous Sasha Lane is in the show. I knew how pretty she was but she is the perfect Bobbi!

yeah she was great as Bobbi! Wasn’t a big fan of the character in the book but liked her a lot more in the show, Sasha did a great interpretation

I wonder if it's pre recorded because May 22 is BFI in London?

might be live or pre-recorded, or they’ll do the interview from London over zoom, maybe!

Joe Alison Oliver Sasha Lane And Jemima Kirke

Joe, Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, and Jemima Kirke will be on Good Morning America this upcoming Saturday, the 21st! [source]

Conversations With Friends 2022

Conversations with Friends (2022) E03 x E04

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