Filming has begun on Normal People, the serial adaptation of Mayo author Sally Rooney's best-selling novel, with Oscar-nominated Room director Lenny Abrahamson and Howard's End director Hettie McDonald behind the lens.

The 12-part relationship drama for the BBC and streaming service Hulu will film in Dublin, Sligo and Italy with British actress Daisy Edgar Jones (War of the Worlds, Cold Feet) in the role of Marianne, and Kildare newcomer Paul Mescal in his first television role as Connell.

Daisy Edgar Jones will play Marianne
Paul Mescal will play Connell

Actors Edgar Jones and Mescal will chart their characters' complicated relationship "from the end of their school days in small-town west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College".

"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," said Abrahamson as filming began. 

Lenny Abrahamson - "It's also lovely for me to be shooting in Ireland again and telling an Irish story after shooting abroad"

The Dublin filmmaker added: "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."

Rooney, who is executive producer on the series, has adapted her novel for the screen alongside playwright and director Mark O'Rowe (The Delinquent Season) and Alice Birch (Lady Macbeth).

Rooney said it was "a special privilege" to be working with Abrahamson on the series.

Sally Rooney - "I couldn't be happier with the cast and team we've put together"

"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 added.
 
Normal People is produced by Dublin company Element Pictures, which previously worked with Abrahamson on Room, Frank and last year's The Little Stranger. The cast also includes Sarah Greene (Dublin Murders, Rosie) and Aislín McGuckin (Outlander, The Nephew).

Sally Rooney was winner of the Novel of the Year prize for Normal People at the Irish Book Awards last November

Normal People will premiere on BBC Three next year and will also be shown on Hulu and BBC One. 

Since its publication in 2018, Normal People has won Novel of the Year at both the Irish Book Awards and the British Book Awards. In January, Rooney won the Costa Novel Award. She was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018.

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