×

Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira’s ‘Americanah’ Adaptation Ordered to Series at HBO Max

Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira’s planned adaptation of the novel “Americanah” has received a straight-to-series order at HBO MaxVariety has learned.

HBO Max has given the limited series a 10-episode order. Nyong’o will star in the series, with Gurira writing the pilot and serving as showrunner.

Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel, “Americanah” tells the story of Ifemelu (Nyong’o), a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze. Living in a military-ruled country, they each depart for the west, with Ifemelu heading for America, where, despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be black. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous undocumented life in London.

“‘Americanah’ has been a passion project for me since I read Chimamanda’s beautiful novel in 2013,” Nyong’o said. “It’s a tale that is simultaneously timely and timeless. HBO Max is the perfect partner to bring this profound and celebrated story to life, and I’m thrilled that Danai will bring to the project her intelligence, wit, and understanding of the stories and the worlds of ‘Americanah.’”

Gurira and Nyong’o will both executive produce, with Nyong’o producing under her Eba Productions banner. Plan B Entertainment will also produce, with Andrea Calderwood of Potboiler Television, Didi Rea and Danielle Del of D2 Productions, and Nancy Won executive producing as well.

“Through ‘Americanah,’ Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way,” Gurira said. “It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humor, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific. I am honored to bring her incredible novel to life on the screen. I’m thrilled to collaborate once again with Lupita who brings her astounding ability as a performer and producer shepherding this project, along with HBO MAX’s unbridled enthusiasm to bring this groundbreaking narrative to the TV audience.”

Nyong’o had previously planned to adapt the novel into a film in which she would star alongside David Oyelowo. She revealed last year that the plans had changed to adapt it into a series instead.

“Americanah has sparked a cultural phenomenon and is revered by fans around the world,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max. “It has affected me deeply as one of the most moving, socially relevant and romantic stories of our time. With exceptional talent like Lupita and Danai in front of and behind the camera, this series will give viewers a uniquely heartfelt and unforgettable experience.”

The series marks a reunion for Nyong’o and Gurira, who starred together in the blockbuster Marvel film “Black Panther.” Nyong’o previously won an Oscar for her performance in “12 Years a Slave” and is also known for starring in films such as “Us” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” “Americanah” will mark her first regular TV role.

Gurira currently stars in the hit AMC series “The Walking Dead,” though she is set to depart that series in its upcoming tenth season. She was nominated for a Tony Award for writing the Broadway show “Eclipsed.”

Nyong’o is repped by CAA and Del Shaw. Gurira is repped by UTA, Suskin Management, and Jackoway Tyerman. Del and Rea are repped by Stone Genow.

More TV

  • 'The Bachelor Summer Games' Shelved at

    'The Bachelor Summer Games' Shelved at ABC Due to Coronavirus

    ABC has made the decision to shelve its planned “The Bachelor Summer Games” spinoff, Variety has confirmed, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the entertainment industry. The prospective series, which had yet to be officially announced, was slated to air during the Olympics this summer, however, news of the show being scrapped for the [...]

  • V Wars Season 1

    'V-Wars,' 'October Faction' Canceled at Netflix After One Season Each

    Both “V-Wars” and “October Faction” have been canceled at Netflix after airing just one season apiece, Variety has confirmed. The two shows are both produced by IDW Entertainment, which is also behind the Netflix series adaptation of “Locke & Key.” News of the twin cancellations comes just after Netflix announced a season 2 pick up for [...]

  • FOX PRESENTS THE IHEART LIVING ROOM

    Fox, iHeart Execs Reveal Secrets Behind 'Living Room Concert' Performances (EXCLUSIVE)

    As recently as last Tuesday, just three artists had signed on to “Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.” But after a week of scrambling and all-night editing sessions, the producers and executives behind the special managed to put together a one-hour event on Sunday night that attracted at least 5.5 million viewers, [...]

  • Steve Carell John Krasinski

    John Krasinski and Steve Carell Hold Mini 'Office' Reunion

    John Krasinski and Steve Carell virtually reunited for an “Office” reunion as part of the first episode of Krasinski’s new YouTube series, “Some Good News.” In an effort to brighten up spirits during the Covid-19 pandemic, Krasinski launched his new YouTube series on Sunday — and there was no better inaugural guest than his former [...]

  • HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

    'How To Get Away With Murder's' Death Cover-ups, Ranked

    The road to “How to Get Away with Murder” is lined with dead bodies. Twenty-eight to be exact. Over the years, the series showed that there’s no shortage of ways to die. Suicide, poison, overdose, suffocation — you name it. The most shocking deaths, of course, are the “anchors”: In the season’s first half, each [...]

  • 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' 'A Discovery of

    'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' 'A Discovery of Witches' Writers Set Projects at Quibi (EXCLUSIVE)

    With exactly one week left until its launch, Quibi has put four new shows in development, Variety has learned exclusively. Among the additions to to the platform’s swelling slate are an animated comedy from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” writer Steve Leff, and a thriller from “A Discovery of Witches” showrunner Kate Brooke. The Leff-created comedy is called “God’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content