If you were unaware, the soon to be cult classic and heart-wrenchingly-real bestseller (like it weirdly broke me) of the year, Normal People is being turned into a twelve-part series. Sally Rooney became the youngest author to win the Costa Novel Award in 2018 (beating us all to it) before her book was named 2019’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. The word-weaving powerhouse that is Ms. Rooney has helped pen the pending adaptation alongside Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe.
Image Via Virginmediatelevision.ie
The novel follows the ever-changing, often infuriating relationship between Connell and Marianne post-Irish economic downturn. The two occupy very different social circles at school; Connell is popular and well-liked (but just a dick), while Marianne (super clever) is ostracized and ridiculed. The two form a connection in secret which begins since Connell’s mother is Marianne’s family’s cleaner. After they escape the irrelevancy of secondary school, Marianne blossoms and Connell does not. Both go to university and have very different experiences, all the while remaining in each other’s lives (to a certain extent). The novel examines all the idiosyncrasies that make us “normal,” bringing to light various traumas and insecurities that are often ignored by an indifferent society.
According to Virgin Media Television, the adaptation being produced by Element Pictures (The Favourite, The Lobster)—expect some nuanced and potentially fucked up feels. It will star Daisy Edgar Jones (Cold Feet) as Marianne and Paul Mescal debuting as Connell. Room (oh this is going to be heavy) filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie McDonald will serve as duel directors.
Rooney, also serving as an executive producer, said: “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.”
Abrahamson added: “It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing Sally Rooney’s extraordinary novel to the screen with such a brilliant cast and crew. 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.”
In an interview with Irish Independent, Sally Rooney once said, “There is a part of [her] that will never be happy knowing that [she is] just writing entertainment, making decorative aesthetic objects at a time of historical crisis.”
This is the sort of thinking that contributed to prose that is thoughtfully rooted in realism and, inevitably, to a kick-ass television show as well.
Normal People will premiere on Hulu and BBC next year. Go read the book in the meantime.
Featured Image Via Independent.co.uk