This fall, Elena Ferrante's much-beloved Neapolitan Novels are heading to the small screen. In March of last year, HBO officially announced plans to adapt the first book: My Brilliant Friend which centers on the lifelong friendship of Elena and Lila, two women who grew up in Naples just after World War II.
Here's what we know about the show so far.
The elusive author Elena Ferrante will be involved in the series.
The New York Times was the first to report that Italian director Saverio Costanzo has signed on to direct the 32-part series. He will also write the show along with Italian screenwriters Francesco Piccolo and Laura Paolucci. Ferrante will contribute to the script via email, likely in an attempt to protect her legendary anonymity.
Ferrante's involvement will hopefully assuage any fears diehard fans of the series have about the television show, which will dedicate eight 50-minute episodes to each title. Costanzo is aware of the concerns involving adaptions, and said he hopes "to convey the same emotions as the books in a cinematographic way."
And Costanzo doesn't care that Ferrante's identity is still a mystery.
"I don’t care," he told the Guardian. "Deeply, I’m not curious at all to know who Elena Ferrante is. I believe in the reality of the books she writes. And they are very real: once you put them on screen, with very little effort, they are like a flower – they bloom.”
Costanzo describes Ferrante's work as “very psychological, never hypocritical. It goes for the truth. It doesn’t compromise, ever.”
“I was in love with the book,” he told the Guardian about why he chose to do the adaptation. “I had read it a long time before that phone call. I was very familiar with the work of Ferrante, the way she understands writing, dramaturgy, her characters. So I jumped in.”
"It’s a story that somehow belongs to everyone," he continued. "I found myself, even though I’m a man, in Elena’s and Lila’s shoes. It’s like a mirror – you can reflect yourself in that story. This is a kind of miracle, that happens very rarely. It’s not easy to make it happen.”
The series will premiere this fall.
The first episode of My Brilliant Friend will debut on Sunday, November 18 at 9 p.m. eastern, with the second episode airing just one night later on November 19 at p.m. According to HBO, "other episodes will debut subsequent Sundays and Mondays at the same time."
The first full trailer is finally here.
Watch it here:
The clips show, the two main characters, Elena and Lila, both as children reading and again as teenagers.
Watch it below:
The team is committed to making a faithful adaptation.
It's HBO's first foreign language series.
The whole thing was shot in Italian and will air with subtitles.
HBO has also released several stills of the series. See those below:
Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti will play the main characters Elena and Lila as young children.
As the storyline progresses through time, Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace will play Elena and Lila as teenagers.
"Casting for the show took place over a period of eight months, with almost 9,000 children and 500 adults from all over Campania [ed note: a region in Southern Italy] auditioning," reads a statement from HBO. It also reveals there are plans to cast more than 150 actors and 500 extras over the course of filming.
Want to read the book before the show premieres?
Shop the series below:
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