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‘My Brilliant Friend’: HBO Is Adapting Elena Ferrante’s Bestseller Set in Naples

The series will shoot in Italy this summer.

"My Brilliant Friend" novel cover

“My Brilliant Friend” novel cover

Europa Editions

HBO wants another high-end Italian series.

After Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Young Pope,” the cable network has sought out “My Brilliant Friend,” an eight-episode drama series that will be directed by Saverio Costanzo, HBO announced on Thursday. Production will begin this summer in Naples.

READ MORE: ’The Young Pope’: Paolo Sorrentino on Lenny’s Fate and Hopeful Plans for a Second Season

“My Brilliant Friend” is based on the Elena Ferrante bestselling novel of the same name that is the first part of a quartet of books known as the “Neapolitan Novels.” The others in the series are “The Story of a New Name,” “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay” and “The Story of the Lost Child.”

The series will trace six decades of the friendship between Elena Greco and Raffaela Cerullo, whom she has always called Lila. They first met in primary school in 1950 in a small neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. As they grow up, Lila never quite escapes the confines and social restraints of the city, whereas Elena has left to pursue college, a career, and love, away. But the two friends keep coming together, drawn by the same city that left its mark on them. The story is told by an elderly Elena, who is writing the saga of their friendship and trying understand the mystery of Lila, who was at times her best friend and her worst enemy.

Costanzo, who had directed the Italian version of “In Treatment” (which itself was an adaptation of an Israeli series “BeTipul”),“The Solitude of Prime Numbers” and “Private,” will also adapt the story with Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo and Laura Paolucci.

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