Filming commences for TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People for BBC Three
I couldn’t be happier with the cast and team we’ve put together, and I’m very excited to watch them bringing new life to the story on screen.Sally Rooney
Award-winning production company Element Pictures (The Favourite, Room, The Lobster, Dublin Murders) have today announced that filming has commenced on the highly anticipated TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s international literary phenomenon, Normal People.
Adapted by Sally Rooney alongside writers Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe, Normal People is a 12-part drama for BBC Three in partnership with Hulu. It will star Daisy Edgar-Jones (War Of The Worlds, Cold Feet) as Marianne and Paul Mescal in his first television role as Connell, in an exquisite and compulsive modern love story about how two people can profoundly impact each others’ lives.
Filming will take place in Dublin, Sligo and Italy with Oscar nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (Room, The Little Stranger, Frank) and award-winning director Hettie McDonald (Howard’s End) sharing the directorial duties.
Sally Rooney, Writer and Executive Producer (pictured above), says: “As a long-time admirer of Lenny Abrahamson’s work, it’s a special privilege for me to be working alongside him on the adaptation of Normal People. I couldn’t be happier with the cast and team we’ve put together, and I’m very excited to watch them bringing new life to the story on screen.”
Normal People tracks the tender but complicated relationship of Marianne and Connell from the end of their school days in small-town west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College. At school, he’s well-liked and popular, while she’s lonely, proud and intimidating. But when Connell comes to pick up his mother from her cleaning job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers - one they are determined to conceal. A year later, they’re both studying in Dublin and Marianne has found her feet in a new social world but Connell hangs at the side lines, shy and uncertain.
Honest, smart and intoxicating, Normal People sees the pair weave in and out of each other’s lives and explores just how complicated intimacy and young love can be.
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: "Anyone reading Normal People will have a version of Connell and Marianne in their mind's eye but in casting Paul and Daisy, Lenny has given us a definitive version of these two young, complex characters which will resonate with us all."
Lenny Abrahamson, Executive Producer and Director (pictured above), says: “It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing Sally Rooney’s extraordinary novel to the screen with such a brilliant cast and crew. In Daisy Edgar Jones and Paul Mescal, I feel I have found two young actors who can vividly capture Marianne and Connell and bring alive the profound and beautiful relationship at the centre of the story. It’s also lovely for me to be shooting in Ireland again and telling an Irish story after shooting abroad. The film and TV industry here is full of talented and committed people who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world.”
Ed Guiney, Executive Producer and Company Director of Element Pictures, says: “All of us at Element Pictures feel so privileged to be part of bringing Sally’s extraordinary, era defining novel to television audiences worldwide under the guidance of the brilliant Lenny Abrahamson.”
Beatrice Springborn, Vice President of Content Development for Hulu, says: “From the moment we read Normal People we were smitten. This anatomy of a will-they-or-won’t-they romance perfectly and uniquely captures the highs and lows of young true love. With our incredible partners Lenny, Sally, Alice, Mark, Element and the BBC, we can’t wait to bring the beloved novel to life and share the series with the world.”
Joining the cast are Sarah Greene (Dublin Murders, Rosie) and Aislín McGuckin (Outlander, The Nephew) alongside some of the most exciting young acting talent in the UK and Ireland.
Normal People is an Element Pictures production for BBC Three and Hulu and was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Tommy Bulfin and Rose Garnett at the BBC. The 12x30' drama has been adapted from the novel by Sally Rooney. Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe have adapted the novel for TV alongside Rooney.
Following Rooney’s critically acclaimed debut novel Conversations with Friends, she was named 2017’s Sunday Times Writer of the Year Award. Normal People was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018 and recently, it won 2019’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. In America, Normal People entered the New York Times Bestseller list at #3.
The series will be executive produced by Ed Guiney (The Favourite, Room, Dublin Murders), Andrew Lowe (The Favourite, Room, The Lobster), Emma Norton (Rosie, A Date For Mad Mary) and Anna Ferguson (No Offence, Prisoners’ Wives) for Element Pictures. Sally Rooney and Lenny Abrahamson will also serve as executive producers. Tommy Bulfin (Line Of Duty, Peaky Blinders) and Rose Garnett will be executive producers for the BBC. Catherine Magee (Resistance, Rebellion) is the producer of the series.
Endeavor Content negotiated the deal with Hulu on behalf of the producers and are handling international sales. Normal People will premiere on BBC Three and air on BBC One. It will air next year on the BBC and on Hulu.