If you are a book lover, chances are you've already stumbled across #ElenaFerrante's captivating series the Neapolitan Novels. Over the span of four books we're absorbed into the world of Elena, a bright girl growing up in a poor neighborhood in Naples, Italy in the 1950s, and her friendship with a brilliant and rambunctious girl who she calls Lila. The four novels document their friendship through the years, but it's not so much the plot of the story as the way it's told that's captivated audiences the world over. The intimate, deeply personal storytelling is engrossing to say the least, and the honesty with which Ferrante — who remains anonymous, btw — depicts her narrator, characters, and surroundings is simultaneously soft and gritty, transporting you to the streets of Naples and through her and Lila's tumultuous lives.
The #NeapolitanNovels (comprised of My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child), were originally written in Italian and have already been translated into 27 languages, selling over a million copies so far. Now the series is being picked up by #HBO, and mamma mia does it sound tantalizing.
Italian director Saverio Costanzo (Hungry Hearts) will be both helming the project and writing alongside Ferrante herself, Laura Paolucci, and Francesco Piccolo. The president of HBO Programming, Casey Bloys, had this to say about the series that's bringing HBO and RAI into collaboration for the first time:
“We are thrilled to partner with Wildside, Rai and Fandango to bring the powerful, epic storytelling of Elena Ferrante and her Neapolitan Novels to life. Through her characters, Elena and Lila, we will witness a lifelong friendship set against the seductive social web of Naples, Italy.”
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HBO will be teaming up with Italy's biggest broadcasting network, RAI, to bring the pages to the small screen. The show will be an eight-parter depicting Ferrante's first book in the series, #MyBrilliantFriend. In a rare but gratifying move, the series will also be in Italian (hopefully in the Neapolitan dialect) with English subtitles. Production should begin this summer.
Being a great lover of the books, I have my reservations, but given the fact that Ferrante is on board and the series will be in Italian, I'll hold off on my doubts and hope it will be every bit as moving as the novels.
Are you excited for My Brilliant Friend to come to HBO?