×

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

  • Conductor and Composer Eímear Noone pictured

    Oscars to Feature Female Orchestra Conductor for the First Time

    A woman will be conducting at the Oscars for the first time on Sunday, Feb. 9, the Academy announced today. Irish-born composer-conductor Eímear Noone will conduct excerpts from the five nominated scores. She is the first female to lead the orchestra in the history of the televised awards, the Academy said. Details beyond that are [...]

  • Marta Kauffman Television Producer

    Marta Kauffman's Okay Goodnight, Fox 21 TV Studios Ink First-Look Deal

    Okay Goodnight, the production company helmed by “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman alongside Robbie Rowe Tollin and Hannah KS Canter, has signed a multi-year first-look deal with Fox 21 Television Studios to create projects for linear and streaming platforms, starting with an adaptation of the novel, “The Dreamers.” “Marta Kauffman is a legend and a hero [...]

  • Actor John Karlen

    John Karlen, Actor in 'Dark Shadows' and 'Cagney & Lacey,' Dies at 86

    Emmy-winning actor John Karlen, best known for his work on the television series “Dark Shadows” and “Cagney & Lacey,” has died. He was 86. Karlen died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at a hospice in Burbank, Calif., his friend and spokesperson Jim Pierson told the Associated Press. The actor played conman and scoundrel Willie Loomis [...]

  • THE BACHELORETTE - Hannah Brown caught

    'Bachelorette' Contestant Tyler Gwozdz Dies of Suspected Overdose

    Tyler Gwozdz, a former contestant on ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” has died of a suspected drug overdose. He was 29. According to the Boca Raton Police Department, Gwozdz was hospitalized on Jan. 13 following a “medical overdose.” He later died in Florida’s Palm Beach County after spending a week in the  intensive care unit. TMZ, which first [...]

  • betty gilpin ann coulter

    'Impeachment: American Crime Story' Casts Betty Gilpin as Ann Coulter

    “GLOW” star Betty Gilpin is set to play Ann Coulter in “Impeachment: American Crime Story” at FX. News of Gilpin’s casting comes just one day after it was announced that Billy Eichner had been cast as Matt Drudge in the third season of “ACS,” which will tackle the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Beanie Feldstein will [...]

  • Jim Jefferies

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots From Jim Jefferies, 'Superstore' Creator Justin Spitzer

    NBC has picked up a pair of comedy pilots for the 2020-2021 season. The first is the multi-cam “Jefferies,” which will star Australian comedian Jim Jefferies as a fictionalized version of himself. Jefferies will also write and executive produce along with Suzanne Martin. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner of Hazy Mills will also executive produce [...]

  • Kari Lizer

    ABC Orders Comedy Pilot From 'New Adventures of Old Christine' Creator

    ABC has picked up the multi-cam comedy pilot “My Village” from Kari Lizer. The project follows an empty-nester mom who wonders how she ended up alone while her children live their best lives thousands of miles away. She decides her place is with her family and as she reinserts herself into their lives, her kids [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content