Reclusive author Elena Ferrante to adapt her bestseller My Brilliant Friend for US, Italian TV

Italian novelist Elena Ferrante's best-selling novel My Brilliant Friend is headed to television as an eight-part series on US cable channel HBO and Italy's RAI television.
Italian novelist Elena Ferrante's best-selling novel My Brilliant Friend is headed to television as an eight-part series on US cable channel HBO and Italy's RAI television.PHOTO: EUROPA EDITIONS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Italian novelist Elena Ferrante's best-selling novel, My Brilliant Friend, is headed to television as an eight-part series, US cable channel HBO and Italy's RAI television said on March 30.

The novel, about two women's volatile childhood friendship and set in Naples in the 1950s, will be adapted by Ferrante and filmed in Italian, the two TV companies said in a statement.

No casting was announced for the principal roles of ambitious Elena Greco and her enigmatic friend Lila. Italian Saverio Costanzo will direct and production is expected to start this summer. My Brilliant Friend is the first of four novels by Ferrante about the lives of the two characters amid the changing face of Italy through five decades.

HBO's president of programming Casey Bloys said the series would explore "the complicated intensity of female friendship". "Through (Ferrante's) characters, Elena and Lila, we will witness a lifelong friendship set against the seductive social web of Naples, Italy," Bloys said.

The four volumes known as the Neapolitan Novels have become bestsellers in the United States and much of Europe, fuelling intense speculation about the real identity of the author, who uses Ferrante as a pseudonym.

Despite various claims to have identified the person behind the name, Ferrante's Italian publishers have always denied them.