The BBC has moved quickly to cement its relationship with Irish author Sally Rooney. Youth channel BBC Three is preparing to drop Normal People in the spring, and is now committed to a 12-part adaption of Rooney’s debut book Conversations With Friends. Hulu is attached to Normal People, but has not yet signed up for Conversations With Friends.
The second adaptation will again be produced by Element Pictures, with Lenny Abrahamson — the Oscar-nominated director of Room — again attached as lead director. Alice Birch, who was also involved in Normal People, is on board as a writer, with other writers set to be announced.
Conversations With Friends follows the story of two Dublin college students, Frances and Bobbi, and the strange and unexpected connection they forge with married couple, Melissa and Nick. “I’m confident we’re going to find fresh and interesting ways of dramatizing the novel’s dynamics,” Rooney said.
Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Emma Norton, Abrahamson and Rooney are the executive producers, alongside Rose Garnett and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC. It was commissioned by BBC drama controller Piers Wenger and BBC Three controller Fiona Campbell.
At a BBC drama event on Monday, Wenger said the broadcaster “will commission work from Sally Rooney for as long as she is writing,” adding that she is able to depict young people in a “direct and authentic way.” He said Conversations With Friends was originally in development elsewhere, but Rooney was convinced to take the project to the BBC after being pleased with the way that Normal People was brought to the screen.