Astonishingly, the TV rights to Normal People had been snapped up before the novel was even published. It’s a BBC3 production in partnership with Hulu and it’ll air on BBC One.
The show started filming last week in Dublin – and by the time it’s out in 2020, everyone will be binge-watching it. With 12 x half-hour episodes, you could watch it all in six hours straight, which you could absolutely knock over in a single day if you wanted.
If you’ve walked into a bookshop, logged onto Instagram or read the bestsellers lists in the past year, then you’ve heard about the novel Normal People by Irish writer Sally Rooney. In the UK, the cover is an orangey red or lime green with a little picture of two human beings curled up and tucked snugly into a sardine tin.
It was easily the most talked-about book of 2018 and now that it’s out in the US (where it debuted at number 3 on the New York Times bestseller list), even more people are dying to debrief on this riveting millennial love story. It was named 2019’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards and long-listed for the Man Booker prize. Sally Rooney has been called “the voice of a generation” by just about every living literary critic, which is quite a mantle for a 28-year-old.
Like the novel, the TV series will follow the will-they, won’t-they relationship between high school friends Marianne and Connell. We follow them from school in small-town Ireland to university at Dublin’s Trinity College, where their long, fraught friendship evolves as they get older, together and apart. Sally Rooney’s fine, sharp observations in the book should hopefully translate to the small screen, given that she joined writers Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe to adapt the novel for telly. She is also executive producer. Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (who is also Irish) and award-winning director Hettie MacDonald will both be directing.
As for the cast, we have Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell.
Here’s Daisy, who is British, by the way, so she’s probably brushing up on her Irish accent as we speak.
And here’s Paul, who is Irish, so probably doesn’t need to change a thing.
They may not perfectly fit everybody’s private mental casting, but Sally Rooney is absolutely on board. “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,” she said.
Same, Sally. Huge same.