Hulu streamers may recall a series by the name of Normal People which took the platform by storm in 2020, and now the library is gearing up for a new Sally Rooney-inspired adaptation with the show Conversations with Friends.
Rooney may have penned both novels upon which the shows are based, but it’s a fresh cast of characters bringing the individuals from her first book to life. Stepping into the central role of Frances is newcomer Alison Oliver who along with her bestie and ex-girlfriend Bobbi (Sasha Lane), strikes up a friendship with married couple Nick (Joe Alwyn) and Melissa (Jemima Kirke).
Unlike the singular relationship between Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) in Normal People, the lines are a little more blurred between this quartet of very different people. The drama really begins when the shy and quiet Frances engages in an affair with Nick.
“Frances is a 21-year-old college student who studies English at Trinity,” Oliver explains. And when it comes to her and Nick’s relationship, the actress says. “From the getgo, they’re kind of drawn to each other.” But what is it that pulls them together? “They’re the quieter of the two,” she says of their relationships with extroverts Bobbi and Melissa.
“They’re both two people who weirdly have quite similar energy,” Alwyn echoes. “They are not defined, but they’re very used to being next to someone who’s a lot more capable of being outspoken or being extroverted. So it’s interesting,” he says, “to see what happens when that safety blanket is removed.”
The drama of two individuals who are engaging in a secret affair certainly creates some confusion as Alwyn adds, “there’s a lot of chaos. It’s kind of all messy and complicated, [but] I think that’s one of the reasons why people like it and why I liked it.”
See what else Oliver, Alwyn, Lane, and Kirke had to say in the full video interview, above, and don’t miss Conversations with Friends on Hulu this May.
Conversations with Friends, Series Premiere, Sunday, May 15, Hulu