When the most important friend in her life seems to have disappeared without a trace, Elena Greco, a now-elderly woman immersed in a house full of books, turns on her computer and starts writing the story of their friendship. 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 thus begins and goes on to cover over 60 years of their lives, trying to describe the mystery of Lila, Elena’s brilliant friend and – in a way – her best friend, her worst enemy.
Production is set to begin this summer on MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, an eight-episode drama series from Saverio Costanzo (“Private,” “The Solitude of Prime Numbers,” “Hungry Hearts”), who directs all eight episodes. The show is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Elena Ferrante, which is the first of her four-part series published in the U.S. by Europa Editions.
Produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and Domenico Procacci for Fandango, the HBO-RAI original series will be filmed in Italian. Adapted for TV and story written by Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio Costanzo. The executive producer for Wildside and Fandango is Jennifer Schuur. The international distributor is FremantleMedia International.
Says Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming, “We are thrilled to partner with Wildside, Rai, and Fandango to bring the powerful, epic storytelling of Elena Ferrante and her Neapolitan Novels to life. Through her characters, Elena and Lila, we will witness a lifelong friendship set against the seductive social web of Naples, Italy. An exploration of the complicated intensity of female friendship, these ambitious stories will no doubt resonate with the HBO audience.”
Notes Antonio Campo Dall’Orto, director general, RAI, “With MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, RAI brings to TV screens the extraordinary publishing success by Elena Ferrante. This is an ambitious project that satisfies many of the public service’s objectives in the field of TV drama. It is Italian and international; it is universal but complex; it is a huge co-production with a global value. Thanks to a first-time cooperation with HBO, a cutting-edge broadcaster in the field of TV series, and producers now established at the international level like Wildside and Fandango, the Italian TV drama takes another step forward in exporting Italian products around the world. A strategy that looks at quality and the market, playing the cards of Italian creativity and talent and of the high level of expertise reached in the creation and production of TV series.”
Observes Lorenzo Mieli, CEO, Wildside, “Producing a series based on the incredible work of Elena Ferrante is an exciting challenge. Through the eyes and lives of two extraordinary friends, her quadrilogy describes 50 years of Italian history, touching on universal themes and feelings. We and Fandango are particularly proud of having brought together two partners like HBO and Rai for a series with a strong Italian identity, but aimed at a global audience. A project that can mark a further great step forward for original Italian productions and a confirmation of Wildside’s international business.”
Notes Domenico Procacci, sole administrator, Fandango, “This is also a good story in terms of production. We’re working very well with Wildside and Rai, a company that is changing, and that now can, editorially speaking, be more daring than before. Having HBO in the production structure now is exciting: They’ve done some of the best series ever, and their presence is a guarantee, for everyone, of absolute attention to quality. This attention is confirmed with the choice of a director like Saverio Costanzo. The objective we all have is to produce high quality for as broad a public as possible. Exactly what Elena Ferrante did with her novels.”