Joe Alwyn set to lead cast in Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends adaptation

Have you read Sally Rooney's debut novel yet?

Joe Alwyn walks the red carpet ahead of the 'The Favourite' screening during the 75th Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on August 30, 2018 in Venice, Italy
(Image credit: Photo by Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage via Getty)

Sally Rooney fans will be delighted to hear that the casting of the BBC’s Conversations with Friends adaptation has finally been announced. Most people will already be familiar with Sally’s amazing novel Normal People - and the hit show based on it starring Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones. It’s hard to believe that Normal People aired almost a year ago, but fans of Sally’s amazing characters and plotlines need not despair. Not only is she releasing a new book on the power of female friendship, but it looks like the much-anticipated adaptation of her novel Conversations with Friends won’t be too long away.

Normal People might have been adapted first, but it was Conversations with Friends that was Irish writer Sally’s debut novel. If you have yet to dive into this coming-of-age tale, then now’s the time to pick up your best eReader and get reading. 

The new BBC Three and Hulu adaptation will be filmed later this year and with the casting now announced, we couldn’t be more excited. 

What is Conversations with Friends about?

Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends follows student Frances in Dublin, who dreams of being a writer and at night performs spoken word with her best friend - and ex-girlfriend - Bobbi. After being interviewed by journalist Melissa, Frances and Bobbi are then befriended by her and find themselves entering a very different and glamorous world. Then Frances and Melissa’s husband Nick grow closer and she must come to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time. 

Who is in the Conversations with Friends cast?

Prominent amongst the impressive casting line-up for Conversations with Friends is Joe Alwyn. Perhaps best known for his role as Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol alongside Hollywood star Guy Pearce as Ebenezer Scrooge, Joe has also starred in Mary Queen of Scots and The Favourite. 

He will also be very familiar to Taylor Swift fans as the singer’s long-term partner. In the much-anticipated adaptation of Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Joe will play Nick - described as a "handsome but reserved actor".

Joe Alwyn attends the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 at Royal Albert Hall on February 02, 2020 in London, England

(Image credit: Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

Nick will have an intense but secret affair with college student Frances, who will be played by Alison Oliver. As the central character in this coming-of-age tale, this will be a momentous role for the actor, who only graduated last year and reportedly has only one professional credit to her name since.

But given the stratospheric rise of fellow The Lir Academy attendee and Normal People star Paul Mescal, she could very well find herself a household name when Conversations with Friends finally airs.

Actress Sasha Lane arrives at the premiere of Disney's 'A Wrinkle In Time' at El Capitan Theatre on February 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California

(Image credit: Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty)

Joe and Alison will be joined by fellow cast members that include Sasha Lane as Frances’ ex-girlfriend and now best friend Bobbi. Sasha has previously starred in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Hellboy and also the American remake of British TV drama Utopia. Whilst Jemima Kirke, best known for playing Jessa in Lena Dunham’s series, Girls, will play Nick’s wife Melissa.

The show will be filmed later this year by director Lenny Abrahamson, who also filmed Normal People.

As reported by, Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, said: "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 can't wait to see how they will bring Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa to life."

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.