The eight-episode first season of the show is based on Elena Ferrante’s best-selling book of the same name, which is the first of her four-part series published in the U.S. by Europa Editions. Season 2 will be based on “The Story of a New Name,” her second book in the series.
“We’re thrilled that Elena Ferrante’s epic story has resonated so powerfully with viewers and critics, and we look forward to the continuing journey of Elena and Lila,” said Casey Bloys, president of HBO Programming.
The series is the tale of Elena Greco and the most important friend in her life. She met Raffaella Cerullo, whom she has always called Lila, in the first year of primary school in 1950. Set in Naples, their story goes on to cover more than 60 years of their lives and explores the mystery of Lila, Elena’s brilliant friend and – in a way – both her best friend and her worst enemy.
“RAI is deeply proud of the extraordinary success of ‘My Brilliant Friend,'” said Fabrizio Salini, RAI CEO. It’s an important milestone that confirms our commitment to focusing on international co-production, as well as on the value of Italian talent.”
Filmed in Italian, the first season of stars newcomers Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti as the younger versions of Elena and Lila, while Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace portray teenage versions of the characters. All episodes are directed by Saverio Costanzo. The season finale is set to air on Dec. 10.
“My Brilliant Friend” is an HBO-RAI Fiction and TIMVISION series and a Wildside-Fandango Production. It is produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and by Domenico Procacci for Fandango, in collaboration with RAI Fiction, TIMVISION and HBO Entertainment and in co-production with Umedia. The story and screenplays are by Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio Costanzo. Paolo Sorrentino and Jennifer Schuur are the executive producers. Fremantle is the international distributor in association with RAI Com.