'Huge' TV adaptation of My Brilliant Friend set for broadcast

'Huge' TV adaptation of My Brilliant Friend set for broadcast

The first episode of the My Brilliant Friend TV adaptation will broadcast in the UK on Sky Atlantic on 19th November.

Based on reclusive author Elena Ferrante’s four 'Neapolitan Novels', published by Europa Editions, the series has been adapted for TV by Ferrante herself alongside Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and director Saverio Costanzo. Paolo Sorrentino and Jennifer Schuur acted as executive producers.

The HBO-RAI original series was filmed in Italian in Naples and the production was a “huge undertaking, with 150 actors and 5,000 extras, many of them young non-professional actors recruited from local schools and a set built from scratch and comprising several building, a church and a tunnel”, according to Europa.

The series (pictured below) will air in the UK on Sky Atlantic on 19th November – on the same date as in Italy and one day after the US. It will be in Italian with subtitles with much of the dialogue is in the Neapolitan dialect of the 1950s - unlike in the novel, where dialect is signposted but not actually much used- so the series will be subtitled for Italian viewers too, Europa said.

The narrating voice is Alba Rohrwacher’s,  who appeared alongside Tilda Swinton in Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love:, and was awarded a Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival for her role in "Hungry Hearts". 

The TV series' 32 episodes will span the four books, with HBO so far on board for the first eight episodes. FremantleMedia is be the series' international distributor.

My Brilliant Friend begins with Elena Greco, an elderly women who starts writing the story of her friendship with 'Lila', who seems to have disappeared without a trace. Their relationship began in primary school in early 1950s Naples and the story goes on to cover more than 60 years of their lives.

The series has sold just over 618,000 units for £6.4m. My Brilliant Friend itself is by far the bestseller, having shifted 276,000 for £2.9m. Furthermore, Ferrante is responsible for 96% of all of Europa Editions’ TCM sales since 2012 (all figures according to Nielsen BookScan.)

Europa Editions is an independent publisher of international fiction, founded in New York in 2005 with the London office soon to be overseen by editorial director Christopher Potter

The adaptation was first announced in March 2017 and production started a few months later.