HBO has found the writers for its potential series based on Brit Bennett’s novel The Vanishing Half.
Aziza Barnes and Jeremy O. Harris will adapt the best seller and serve as executive producers of the project. They’ll also serve as executive producers; Insecure star and co-creator Issa Rae and Oscars producer Stephanie Allain are also EPs.
The Vanishing Half, which became an instant best seller upon its publication in June 2020, centers on identical twin sisters who run away from their small, southern Black community at age 16. As adults, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different, it’s everything: their families, their communities, the essence of who they are. Ten years later, they are living completely separate lives, far from the close-knit sisters they once were — and with many secrets that divide them further. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined.
“Reading The Vanishing Half was and is an exacting call to my family’s history — one of passing for white, legends so tall as to be myths, and wounds that last several generations,” said Barnes. “Beyond feeling compelled to adapt this world that I knew viscerally, to then be able to craft its coming to life with a dear friend, chosen family, is a gift beyond measure. Working with Jeremy is a delight and dedication to making art in the medium of television that grips and moves me, moves us both. I’m hype.”
Added Harris, “One of the few highlights of 2020 was the evening I spent on my birthday curled on my couch screaming at Stella Vignes, ‘HOW COULD YOU’ so loudly my neighbor thought something was wrong. To know that I get the privilege to collaborate with Brit and one of my favorite playwrights Aziza in translating that moment to millions around the world is an honor. In many ways knowing that my ‘twin’ in this journey gets to be a playwright with whom I shared a debut season and a debut director makes this all the more special because the secret language of siblings seems to already pass between us throughout this process.”
Barnes has worked on Lena Waithe’s Birth of Cool at BET+ and in a mini writers room for God’s Soldiers at HBO. They’re also developing Pride, an updated to Pride and Prejudice, for the premium cabler.
Slave Play author Harris, who has an overall deal at HBO, is a co-producer of Euphoria and wrote the screenplay for feature film Zola, among other credits.
Barnes and Harris will executive produce The Vanishing Half along with Rae, Montrel McKay and Sara Rastogi for Hoorae; Allain and Gabrielle Ebron for Homegrown Pictures; and Bennett.
Barnes is repped by WME, Grandview and Myman Greenspan; Harris by ICM Partners, 2AM and Granderson Des Rochers; Rae by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment and John Meigs; Allain by UTA, Artists First and Jackoway Tyerman; and Bennett by CAA, Julia Kardon of HG Literary and Orly Ravid of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. CAA repped the book on behalf of Julia Kardon of HG Literary and Orly Ravid of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp.