Conversations with Friends star talks “mechanical” sex scenes

Conversations with Friends star Joe Alwyn has spoken out about the “choreographed” and “mechanical” sex scenes that he filmed for the new drama.

The series is based on Sally Rooney’s 2017 novel of the same name and follows the wildly popular 2020 adaptation of her novel Normal People, which told the twisty love story of Connell (Paul Mescal) and Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) during their school and university years.

With Normal People‘s regular sex scenes getting viewers talking, Conversations with Friends may be about to do the same, as it features Alwyn’s character, married actor Nick, having an affair with college student Frances.


Related: Normal People director on possibility of Conversations with Friends cameos

Although the scenes may appear steamy on screen, Alwyn has told The Guardian that filming his sex scenes was actually a lot like putting together a fight scene.

“We were guided through it with an intimacy coordinator, Ita O’Brien, who is great,” he said. “They’re essentially choreographed. So they’re like fight scenes. They’re quite mechanical.

“And obviously they’re weird, funny, strange things to do with your friends. But when Lenny’s (director Lenny Abrahamson) in the room, cracking jokes, and there’s 10 crew members around, and it’s freezing cold or boiling hot, it just takes all the sexiness out of it.”

The actor added that the intimate scenes also all have a purpose, stressing that none of them are ‘gratuitous’.

joe alwyn

Getty Images

Related: Normal People‘s Daisy Edgar-Jones shares sweet Paul Mescal reunion photo

“They are kind of extensions of the conversations, in their own way,” he explained. “Each one, hopefully, should feel slightly different and mean something different to the people involved, and they’re not just kind of gratuitously thrown in.

“But, I mean, obviously, it’s a weird part of the job.”

Conversations with Friends follows the intertwining lives of Frances (Alison Oliver), her best friend and former girlfriend Bobbi (Sasha Lane), their new writer friend Melissa (Jemima Kirke) and Melissa’s husband Nick (Alwyn), as they all become further embroiled in each other’s lives in a number of ways and are forced to ask some big questions.

bbc conversations with friends


Related: Normal People star had no idea the series would be so successful

Alwyn also dropped some hints about what we can expect to see from Nick, saying that more and more details about him will be revealed as the series goes on.

“When you meet him, he’s in a place of recovery – he’s been through a storm and is slightly numb to the world. And he’s just kind of functioning, and we meet that version of him, but we don’t really know why,” he said.

“He can be a real enigma, and sometimes frustratingly so. He’s quite aloof and enigmatic and unreadable.”

Conversations with Friends will premiere on May 15, 2022, airing on BBC Three in the UK and Hulu in the US. Normal People is available to stream on BBC iPlayer in the UK, Hulu in the US, or to download and keep.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at