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Lupita Nyong’o has signed on to star in a limited series for HBO Max. Her Black Panther co-star, Danai Gurira, will serve as showrunner.
The WarnerMedia streaming service has given a straight-to-series order to Americanah, based on the best-selling novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The 10-episode series tells the story of a woman (Nyong’o) born in Nigeria who leaves for America and her extraordinary experiences with love, heartache, adversity and self-discovery.
The project will be the first role in an American TV series for Oscar-winner Nyong’o, who starred in Jordan Peele’s Us earlier this year and reprises her role as Maz Kanata in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, due in theaters in December.
“Americanah has sparked a cultural phenomenon and is revered by fans around the world. It has affected me deeply as one of the most moving, socially relevant and romantic stories of our time,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max. “With exceptional talent like Lupita and Danai in front of and behind the camera, this series will give viewers a uniquely heartfelt and unforgettable experience.”
Gurira, a Tony-nominated playwright (Eclipsed), will take on her first showrunning job with the series. The Walking Dead actress, who’s set to leave the AMC hit after its upcoming 10th season, said she’s “honored” to adapt the book.
“Through Americanah, Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way,” said Gurira. “It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humor, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific. I am honored to bring her incredible novel to life on the screen. I’m thrilled to collaborate once again with Lupita, who brings her astounding ability as a performer and producer shepherding this project, along with HBO Max’s unbridled enthusiasm to bring this groundbreaking narrative to the TV audience.”
Added Nyong’o, “Americanah has been a passion project for me since I read Chimamanda’s beautiful novel in 2013. It’s a tale that is simultaneously timely and timeless. HBO Max is the perfect partner to bring this profound and celebrated story to life, and I’m thrilled that Danai will bring to the project her intelligence, wit and understanding of the stories and the worlds of Americanah.”
Gurira and Nyong’o (via her Eba Productions) executive produce the series along with Plan B Entertainment, Andrea Calderwood for Potboiler Television, Didi Rea and Danielle Del for D2 Productions and Nancy Won.
Americanah joins a list of scripted original series on HBO Max that includes a Gossip Girl reboot, drama The Flight Attendant, starring Kaley Cuoco, neo-noir drama Tokyo Vice and comedic anthology Love Life, starring Anna Kendrick. The streaming service is slated to launch in spring 2020 with library content including Friends, Game of Thrones and series and movies from all of WarnerMedia’s properties.
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