The Oscar winner, who recently signed a first-look TV deal at Apple, will play the lead role in The Days of Abandonment, based on a novel by My Brilliant Friend author Elena Ferrante. Sundance award winner Maggie Betts (Novitiate) will adapt the novel and direct the film, which is in preproduction.
The Days of Abandonment (which was previously adapted for a 2006 Italian film) centers on Tess (Portman), a woman who abandoned her own dreams for a stable home life and is in turn abandoned by her husband, throwing her world off its axis. The movie will delve into the mind of a woman in crisis, who “confronts the norms of motherhood and female identity as Tess traverses the darkest reaches of her own psyche,” per the film’s logline.
The movie is the second high-profile TV project that Portman has signed on to recently. She’ll also star with Lupita Nyong’o in an Apple limited series based on Laura Lippman’s novel Lady in the Lake. HBO, meanwhile, has renewed My Brilliant Friend, the series based on Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, for a third season.
Portman will executive produce The Days of Abandonment with her MountainA partner, Sophie Mas; writer and director Betts; Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Screen Media; former HBO Films head Len Amato of Crash & Salvage; Ferrante; Domenico Procacci of My Brilliant Friend producer Fandango; and Maria Zuckerman. HBO Films produces in association with Medusa.
Betts is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and 42 West; Portman by CAA and the Law Offices of George Sheanshang; MountainA by CAA and Frankfurt Kurnit; and Ferrante by Edizione e/o.