Oscar winner Natalie Portman is set to star and executive produce HBO Films’ The Days of Abandonment, based on Elena Ferrante’s best-selling novel. The film, which is currently in pre-production, hails from writer-director Maggie Betts (Novitiate), Portman and her MountainA Films, Maven Screen Media, Len Amato’s Crash & Salvage and Fandango. Ferrante also serves as an executive producer.
Written and directed by Betts, The Days of Abandonment revolves around Tess, played by Portman. When Tess, a woman who abandoned her own dreams for a stable home life, is in turn abandoned by her husband, her world is thrown off its axis. Adapted from Ferrante’s tour-de-force novel of the same name, The Days of Abandonment is a visceral, no-holds-barred journey into the mind of a woman in crisis that confronts the norms of motherhood and female identity as Tess traverses the darkest reaches of her own psyche.
Betts executive produces with Portman and Sophie Mas via MountainA, along with Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler for Maven Screen Media, Len Amato for Crash & Salvage, Ferrante, Domenico Procacci for Fandango and Maria Zuckerman. HBO Films produces in association with Medusa.
MountainA was founded in 2020 by Natalie Portman and Sophie Mas to produce film and television projects. Under a recently announced first-look deal with Apple TV+, MountainA is behind Lady in the Lake, an upcoming Apple Original limited series, which will mark Portman’s TV acting debut. She is co-starring with Lupita Nyong’o on the series, directed and co-written by Alma Har’el. Portman and Mas will serve as executive producers through MountainA.
Maven Screen Media is devoted to addressing the gender imbalance in film, as well as narratives told through the female lens. Maven reunites with Betts after their successful collaboration on Novitiate, which won the director’s prize at Sundance.
Upcoming films from Maven Screen Media, include two women making their directorial debuts in Amy Koppelman with A Mouthful of Air starring Amanda Seyfried and Paul Giamatti, and Camille Griffin with Silent Night starring Keira Knightley, Lucy Punch, Lily Rose Depp and Matthew Goode. Maven is in post on Infinite Storm, directed by Malgo Szumowska and starring Naomi Watts.
Crash&Salvage is the newly formed production banner from Emmy-winning producer Len Amato, former President of HBO Films, Miniseries and Cinemax. Created in January 2021, Crash&Salvage develops projects for film and television as well as Music-based projects with emerging artists. Under his banner, in addition to The Days of Abandonment, Amato also has in development at HBO White House Plumbers, a limited series directed by David Mandel, written by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, and starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux.
Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), which was made into a film directed by Roberto Faenza, Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), adapted by Mario Martone, and The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008), soon to be a major motion picture directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and starring Oscar Award-winner Olivia Colman. She is also the author of Incidental Inventions (Europa, 2019), illustrated by Andrea Ucini, Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey (Europa, 2016) and The Beach at Night (Europa, 2016), illustrated by Mara Cerri. The four volumes known as the “Neapolitan quartet” (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child) were published by Europa Editions in English between 2012 and 2015. My Brilliant Friend, the HBO series directed by Saverio Costanzo, premiered in 2018. Her most recent novel is The Lying Life of Adults (Europa, 2020).
Fandango is a film production company founded in 1989 by Domenico Procacci. The company has won numerous awards, including two Grand Prix in Cannes with Gomorrah and Reality both directed by Matteo Garrone. On the TV side, Fandango produced the Gomorrah series with Cattleya and Sky and L’Amica geniale (My Brilliant Friend), the HBO – RAI series co-produced with Wildside / The Apartment, based on Ferrante’s novels. The series based on Ferrante’s latest novel La vita bugiarda degli adulti (The Lying Life of Adults) is currently in development with Netflix.
Zuckerman currently serves as Executive Vice President and Head of Topic Studios. Since taking the helm, she has helped usher in several new productions and projects including The Mauritanian, a political drama directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald and starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Shailene Woodley (STXfilms); Pablo Larrain’s upcoming film Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana (NEON); and the upcoming surfing documentary series, 100 Foot Wave set to premiere on HBO/HBO Max later this year.
Betts is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Portman is repped by CAA and the Law Offices of George Sheanshang. MountainA is repped by CAA and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. Ferrante is repped by Edizione e/o.