The cast of 'Conversations with Friends' on adapting a bestselling book

The cast of ‘Conversations with Friends’ on adapting a bestselling book


A highly anticipated adaptation of Irish author Sally Rooney’s debut novel ‘Conversation with Friends’ is out this weekend, following in the footsteps of her TV-turned-book ‘Normal People’.

Alison Oliver and Sasha Lane star as ex-girlfriends and now best friends Frances and Bobbi, who meet older married couple Melissa and Nick, played by Jemima Kirke and Joe Alwyn, at a poetry night in Dublin. The story follows their different relationships as their lives intertwine.

Reuters spoke to the cast of the series, which will premiere on the BBC and Hulu on May 15, and delighted fans of the book.

Below are excerpts edited for length and clarity.

Q: What is the central conversation of the series?

Oliver: “What I took away from the book is that you can’t really control (things)… so much for Frances, it’s control and she realizes that you can’t controlling who we love or how many people we love. We just love them and hope for the best. I think that’s a really interesting message and a journey that they’re all on.

Q: Did you feel any pressure to appeal to fans of the book?

Alwyn: “It’s nice to be a part of something…that people love so much, of course…there’s nerves in wanting to do justice to the book and the characters that people care about a lot. But besides of that there is an excitement and a privilege to be invited to be a part of it and that means a lot.You have to put those nerves aside, at least when it comes time to do so.

Lane: “It’s a show and it’s based on the book…those are two different things. There were real people playing that, taking in emotions that are written or not even completely…it’s is through Frances’ perspective and you’re rewriting it that way and then you put it on a show where you actually include those characters in. It’s just a whole other thing.

Q: Were there any unexpected difficulties during filming?

Kirke: “The challenge of being a mother and being an actor is a challenge that you don’t talk about very often, especially as a single mother. It’s actually not a thing. It’s not possible to be good at both One thing is always missing on one side… (the) most time I’ve spent away from my children is probably six or seven weeks and the only other mothers I know who do that are mothers of the Army.

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