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Tessa Hadley’s ‘Free Love’ Acquired by Fremantle’s The Apartment, Lorenzo De Maio for Series (EXCLUSIVE)

Hadley/De Maio
Courtesy Fremantle

British bestselling author Tessa Hadley’s latest novel “Free Love,” about a middle-aged woman’s sexual and intellectual awakening in swinging ’60s London, has been snapped up for a high-end series adaptation by Fremantle’s The Apartment and De Maio Entertainment.

Los-Angeles based Lorenzo De Maio, a former partner at Endeavor Content, has secured rights, following a bidding war for the hot book that just launched in the U.K. and will be released in the U.S. next month.

“Free Love” is set to be fast-tracked as a U.S./U.K. series by De Maio Entertainment and Rome-based The Apartment, the Fremantle-owned company behind Paolo Sorrentino’s international Oscar-shortlisted “The Hand of God” and his “The Young Pope” and “The New Pope” shows and HBO’s Elena Ferrante adaptation “My Brilliant Friend,” among other international titles.

“I loved ‘Hand of God’ and ‘My Brilliant Friend,’ so it’s very exciting for me to imagine seeing the world of my book through the eyes of The Apartment and De Maio Entertainment,” Hadley said in a statement.

Lorenzo Mieli, chief of The Apartment, and De Maio said: “We are so grateful to be working with Tessa, such a brilliant and powerful storyteller, and are excited to explore the rich characters she has created in ‘Free Love.’”

Set against the backdrop of 1960s London, “Free Love” is the story of 40-year-old Phyllis Fischer, dutiful wife of a boring civil servant husband and mother. She sees her life transformed after the 20-something son of an old friend pays her family a visit and they share a kiss after dinner. Newly awakened to the world, Phyllis defies convention to pursue love, escape, sexual freedom and live a more meaningful life.

“The series will allow us to get to know Phyllis, without judgment, as she decides to make a personal, passionate choice and all the opportunities and challenges she must face,” Mieli and De Maio added. “This is a timeless story filled with flawed and complex characters that we are delighted to bring to audiences worldwide.”

Hadley is the author of seven acclaimed novels, including “Accidents in the Home,” which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award; “The London Train, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and “Late in the Day.” Her stories appear regularly in “The New Yorker.”

De Maio (pictured, right) last year left Endeavor Content to launch a new venture, De Maio Entertainment, which has backing from Fremantle through an exclusive long-term partnership deal. He is exploring new strategic opportunities with Fremantle, which is ramping up its scripted content side and becoming one of the biggest independent TV and film production studios in Europe.

Mieli (pictured below) a co-founder of Fremantle’s Wildside, who besides Sorrentino’s latest works and “My Brilliant Friend” is also behind Luca Guadagnino’s English-language series “We Are Who We Are,” founded The Apartment, which is a separate Italian Fremantle unit, in January 2020 as an incubator of high-end projects for the international market. 

Lorenzo Mieli

Hadley, who lives in London, is repped by WME, The Joy Harris Literary Agency, and United Agents.