“My Brilliant Friend” is set to close the book on Elena and Lila’s journey. The Italian- and Neapolitan-language television series has been renewed for a fourth and final season by co-producers HBO and RAI.
Based on the acclaimed “Neapolitan Novels” four-book series by Italian writer Elena Ferrante, “My Brilliant Friend” follows the coming-of-age of two best friends, Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo, who grow up in a poor Naples neighborhood in the 1950s. As the smart-but-shy Elena continues her education and eventually ascends into the wealthy elite, the outspoken Lila is denied schooling by her family and struggles through an abusive marriage. The show, which is named after the first novel in Ferrante’s series, has adapted each book into an eight-episode season, with the fourth season set to adapt the final installment, “The Story of the Lost Child.”
The first three seasons of “My Brilliant Friend” have starred Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace in the central roles of Elena and Lila, with Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti playing the characters as younger children during the first season. In Season 4, the role of Elena will be portrayed by Alba Rohrwacher, who has provided narration as an older version of the character looking back on her life over the course of the series. Casting for the older version of Lila has yet to be announced.
“My Brilliant Friend” was created by Saverio Costanzo. The show is produced by Lorenzo Mieli for Fremantle Italy, The Apartment and Wildside, and by Domenico Procacci for Fandango, in association with Rai Fiction and HBO Entertainment. Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio Costanzo are the credited writers for story and screenplay of the series. Paolo Sorrentino and Jennifer Schuur serve as executive producers, and the series is distributed internationally by Fremantle in association with RAI Com.
Since its premiere in 2018, “My Brilliant Friend” has received critical acclaim for its writing, direction and the performances of the two leads. In her review of the second season, Variety chief TV critic Caroline Framke called the show “an unusually thoughtful, perceptive series, taking the interiority of teenage girls and women seriously while immersing its audience in a specific culture that, nonetheless, feels all too painfully familiar.”
The third season of “My Brilliant Friend,” subtitled “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay,” debuted on HBO and Italy’s RAI 1 last month.