The eight-episode first season is based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling book of the same name, which is the first of her four-part series published in the U.S. by Europa Editions. Season 2 will be based on The Story of a New Name, her second book in the series. A start date for production has not yet been announced.
“We’re thrilled that Elena Ferrante’s epic story has resonated so powerfully with viewers and critics, and we look forward to the continuing journey of Elena and Lila,” said Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming, in announcing the news Tuesday.
“RAI is deeply proud of the extraordinary success of My Brilliant Friend. It’s an important milestone that confirms our commitment to focusing on international co-production, as well as on the value of Italian talent,” said Fabrizio Salini, RAI CEO.
My Brilliant Friend is the tale of Elena Greco and the most important friend in her life. She met Raffaella Cerullo, whom she has always called Lila, in the first year of primary school in 1950. Set in a dangerous and fascinating Naples, their story goes on to cover more than 60 years of their lives and explores the mystery of Lila, Elena’s brilliant friend and – in a way – both her best friend and her worst enemy.
Filmed in Italian, the eight-episode first season stars newcomers Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti as the younger versions of Elena and Lila, while Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace portray teenage versions of the characters. All episodes are directed by Costanzo.
“We are profoundly proud that this story will continue to captivate audiences worldwide,” adds Lorenzo Mieli, CEO of Wildside and a producer of the series along with Mario Gianani and Domenico Procacci. “We are even prouder that this result was achieved through the creativity, vision and passionate commitment of an extraordinary talented team of Italian professionals, led by Saverio Costanzo.”
The HBO, RAI Fiction and Timvision drama series debuted Sunday, November 18, followed by the second episode on Monday, November 19, with other episodes debuting subsequent Sundays and Mondays, including the December 10 season finale.
My Brilliant Friend is an HBO, RAI Fiction and Timvision series, produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and by Domenico Procacci for Fandango in co-production with Umedia Production. Story and screenplays are by Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Costanzo. Jennifer Schuur is the executive producer, and FremantleMedia International is the international distributor.