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Irish actress Alison Oliver cast alongside Joe Alwyn in TV adaptation of Sally Rooney novel

Up-and-coming Irish actress Alison Oliver has been cast alongside Joe Alwyn in the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Conversations with Friends.

Following the outstanding success of Normal People, Element Pictures has announced the casting for the upcoming series – which will air on BBC and RTÉ next year.

Conversations with Friends, which will also stream on Hulu in the U.S., will star newcomer Alison, an emerging talent from Lir Academy, as the lead character Frances.

Alison Oliver will play Frances

The Cork native has been cast alongside American actress Sasha Lane, who will play Bobbi; former Girls star Jemima Kirke, who will play Melissa; and British actor Joe Alwyn as Nick.

Conversations with Friends follows Frances (Alison), a 21-year-old college student as she navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.

Frances is observant, cerebral and sharp. Her ex-girlfriend, now best friend, Bobbi (Sasha) is self-assured, outspoken and compelling. Though they broke up three years ago, Frances and Bobbi are virtually inseparable and perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin.

Sasha Lane will play Bobbi

It’s at one of their shows that they meet Melissa (Jemima), an older writer, who is fascinated by the pair.

Bobbi and Frances start to spend time with Melissa and her husband, Nick (Joe Alwyn), a handsome but reserved actor.

While Melissa and Bobbi flirt with each other openly, Nick and Frances embark on an intense, secret affair that is surprising to them both.

Soon the affair begins to test the bond between Frances and Bobbi, forcing Frances to reconsider her sense of self, and the friendship she holds so dear.

Jemima Kirke will play Melissa

Element Pictures is once again collaborating with director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Alice Birch on the 12-part series, who will work alongside writers Mark O’Halloran (Rialto), Meadhbh McHugh (Asking For It) and Susan Soon He Stanton (Succession).

Filming will take place this year in Dublin, Belfast and international locations yet to be confirmed, with Lenny Abrahamson sharing directorial duties with Leanne Welham (Pili, His Dark Materials).

Lenny Abrahamson, Executive Producer and Director, said: “I feel so excited to be collaborating with four such superb actors to bring Sally’s brilliant novel to the screen.”

“Over the last few months it has been a privilege to work alongside Element Pictures and our extraordinary team of writers to get the scripts to a point where we all feel so excited to start shooting.”

Joe Alwyn, the boyfriend of Taylor Swift, will play Nick

“I’ll be joined by a world class crew (many of whom worked on Normal People) and supporting cast and I’m particularly happy to have Leanne Welham come on board. I’ve been an admirer of her work for a long time and I have no doubt she will bring great skill and subtlety to the episodes she directs.”

Ed Guiney, Executive Producer and Company Director of Element Pictures, added: “Alison, Sasha, Joe and Jemima are the dream cast to lead Conversations With Friends and all of us at Element are so excited about the incredible scripts from our amazing team of writers which we have been developing with the oversight of the brilliant Lenny Abrahamson.”

“We can’t wait to start filming with Lenny, Leanne and our wonderful cast and crew to bring Sally’s extraordinary novel to the screen.”


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