EXCLUSIVE: Freya Mavor (Skins) and Pilou Asbæk (Borgen, Game of Thrones) are set to star in Invitation to a Bonfire, AMC’s series adaptation of the novel by Adrienne Celt. Ngozi Anyanwu (Deuce) also has been cast as a series regular in the project, which received a six-episode straight-to-series order under AMC’s “scripts-to-series” model to launch on the network and AMC+ in 2023.
Created by Rachel Caris Love, Invitation to a Bonfire is a psychological thriller set in the 1930s at an all-girls boarding school in New Jersey. Inspired by Vladimir and Vera Nabokov’s co-dependent marriage, the series follows Zoya (Mavor), a young Russian immigrant and groundskeeper, who is drawn into a lethal love triangle with the school’s newest faculty member — an enigmatic novelist, Leo (Asbæk)— and his bewitching wife.
Mavor’s Zoya Andropova is an orphaned refugee and the consummate outsider at the posh all-girls school where she works. She is a Soviet among Americans, a peasant among silver spooners, an intellectual among the incurious. When the novelist Leo Orlov joins the faculty, Zoya develops a dangerous obsession with him — and his magnetic wife.
Asbæk’s Leo, loosely inspired by Vladimir Nabokov, is a literary genius currently in turmoil. When he arrives to teach at this upper-crust New Jersey girls school, he bristles with resentment — much of it directed towards his wife. But then he meets Zoya, a young groundskeeper at the school, and the trajectory of his writing — and his life — are forever changed.
Anyanwu plays Hilda, an ambitious, independent woman who refuses to betray her heart — no matter the cost. After her affluent family refused to accept her for who she is, she left them behind, choosing to start anew in the kitchen at the school.
Love executive produces alongside Robin Schwartz and Kyle Laursen; Carolyn Daucher is a producer. AMC Studios is the studio. Series’ casting directors are Ellen Chenoweth and Susanne Scheel with European casting by Kate Rhodes James CDG, CSA.
Scottish actor Mavor is repped by Hamilton Hodell in the UK, UTA in the U.S., and Peikoff Mahan. Danish actor Asbæk is repped by UTA, Art Management and Untitled Entertainment. Nigerian-born American actor and playwright Anyanwu is repped by CAA and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang.
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