Elena Ferrante’s literary phenomenon “My Beautiful Friend” is being adapted by HBO

Another literary phenomenon is being adapted for the small screen. This time it’s HBO turning Elena Ferrante’s My Beautiful Friend into series, and we actually can’t wait.

If you’ve not heard of it, My Beautiful Friend is the first novel in Elena Ferrante’s “Neapolitan Novels,” which consists of four books and follows the story of two friends living in Naples. Ferrante, an Italian author, was thrust into public consciousness back in 2011, sparking Ferrante Fever as she became known for her media shy persona and for keeping her identity a mystery.

Last year, Ferrante’s name made headlines again, however, after an investigative journalist in Italy seemed to uncover the author’s true identity, a move which many called an intense breach of privacy and caused outrage in the literary world.


Well, it’s now been announced that Ferrante’s first Neapolitan novel is to be adapted by HBO.

According to a report in Variety, HBO has teamed up with Italian state broadcaster Rai for the adaptation, which is expected to be eight episodes long. The show, which is to be filmed in Italian and given English subtitles, will be helmed by Italian director Saverio Costanzo, who has said that Ferrante’s novels are “very literary but also very cinematographic.”

“They are characters that each one of us can inhabit no matter what country you are from,” Costanzo said. “They are so well told, in such detail, that we can all identify with them and their desire to emancipate themselves….Elena Ferrante has managed to tell in the first person things that are very intimate, risky, that we all feel but that you need plenty of courage to admit.”

Costanzo hopes to cover all four books with 32 episodes, with HBO initially signed up for the first eight (as The Fader report, the premium network has also optioned the other three books in the series, too).

The “Neapolitan Novels” follow the story of Elena Greco, an elderly woman who, when her best friend disappears, decides to write the story of their 60-year friendship starting in the 1950s.

"Through her characters, Elena and Lila, we will witness a lifelong friendship set against the seductive social web of Naples, Italy, said HBO Programming president Casey Bloys. “An exploration of the complicated intensity of female friendship, these ambitious stories will no doubt resonate with the HBO audience.

Costanzo is working on the screenplay for the series alongside Francesco Piccolo and Laura Paolucci, while he’s also communicating with Ferrante herself via email.

“I am among those who are not interested who she [really is]. I am just interested in her literary world, not her human reality,” Costanzo said.

As of yet, there is no airdate for the adaptation, but given how luscious and wonderful the books are we just know that it’s going to be fabulous.

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