'My Brilliant Friend' Renewed for Season 2 at HBO

My Brilliant Friend
Photo by Eduardo Castaldo

My Brilliant Friend will return to HBO. In the midst of its eight-episode run, the cable network and platform has committed to a second season — one that will cover the second of the four books in Elena Ferrante’s best-selling series.

The new season of My Brilliant Friend, which was dubbed a miniseries at its launch, will be based on The Story of a New Name.

“We’re thrilled that Elena Ferrante’s epic story has resonated so powerfully with viewers and critics, and we look forward to the continuing journey of Elena and Lila,” said HBO programming president Casey Bloys, who is producing the Italian-language drama with RAI FICTION and TIMVISION.

My Brilliant Friend is the story of Elena Greco and Raffaella “Lila” Cerullo, who meet as children and are part of each other’s lives for more than 60 years — all covered over the span of Ferrante’s four books. Filmed in Italy and in Italian, the first season stars newcomers Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti as the younger versions of Elena and Lila, and Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace as teenage versions. Each episode was directed by Saverio Costanzo.

Should HBO stay the course with the adaptations, more cast changes will be inevitable. The events of the second book find the two primary characters in their twenties.

The series premiered on HBO on Nov. 18 to modest linear returns. Gross viewership, with streaming, was not immediately available. Reviews, however, have been almost unanimously fawning.

The story and screenplays come from Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci, Saverio Costanzo and Ferrante herself. The author famously maintains her anonymity, writing under a pseudonym and never appearing in public.