CANNES — Fremantle has assembled a strong lineup of global buyers for its highly anticipated drama series “My Brilliant Friend,” which is to break ground in the U.S. next month as an Italian-language series airing with subtitles on HBO.
“Friend” is an adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s acclaimed 2012 novel of two childhood female friends in 1950s Naples. The series was, not surprisingly, well received last month in its debut at the Venice Film Festival. The book was the start of the “Neapolitan Quartet” of historical novels Ferrante published through 2015.
“Friend” producer Fremantle has lined up France’s Canal Plus, the U.K.’s Sky Atlantic and Australia’s Foxtel as buyers for the eight-episode series in key territories. Other buyers to date in 56 markets include HBO Europe (Scandinavia, Spain and central Eastern Europe), Quebecor Content (French-speaking Canada), VRT (Belgium), Cosmote TV (Greece), HOT (Israel), Cellcom TV (Israel), Manoto TV (MENA), SVT (Sweden), Digiturk (Turkey) and TVNZ (New Zealand).
“Ever since we announced the adaptation of ‘My Brilliant Friend,’ back in 2016, the reaction from both global press and buyers has been huge. This was evident when we held the world premiere at Venice last month, the response in the room was electrifying, everyone was on their feet for a 10-minute ovation.” said Jens Richter, CEO of international for Fremantle. “It’s a world-class drama that is set to transfix global audiences.”
“Friend” is a co-production of Italy’s RAI, HBO and other local partners. Fremantle is the international distributor on behalf of RAI.
The writing team on the eight episode series is led by Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio Costanzo. Costanzo also directed all eight episodes.
“Friend” is set to debut Nov. 18 on HBO.