Ferrante Novels Come Alive on Television

Joelle Grosso (March 10, 2017)
The Neapolitan novels of the popular Italian writer, Elena Ferrante, will soon be transformed into a HBO television series directed by film director, Saverio Costanzo.

Casting calls have officially begun for a new 32-part Italian television series with English subtitles entitled The Neapolitan Novels which will tell the tale of two female protagonists based on four books by Italian writer, Elena Ferrante. It is an original series for HBO and RAI, Italy's national public broadcasting company, produced by Italian production companies Wildside and Fandango. The critically acclaimed tetralogy includes My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. For those who don’t know, these intriguing novels trace the interwoven stories of two friends from their childhood in Naples at the end of World War II up to the turn of the millennium.

The Mystery Behind Ferrante

There is a lot of mystery behind the author of these novels because “Elena Ferrante” is just the pseudonym of the Italian novelist. People assume the author to be a woman but no one is exactly sure of her true identity. Ferrante has kept her identity secret since the publication of her first novel in 1992 but that hasn’t stopped the success of her wildly popular books. She was even named one of the 100 most influential people on the planet by Time magazine last year.

Director Saverio Costanzo

Saverio Costanzo, the Roman film director who is working on bringing the famous series to life recently told The New York Times that he wasn’t interested in the author’s true identity and that “it’s her literary reality that counts.” For Costanzo, it doesn’t matter who she really is because his biggest preoccupation is figuring out a way “to convey the same emotions as the books in a cinematographic way.” He hopes to do so by communicating with Ferrante via email so that she will be able to directly contribute to the screenplay. The director is best know for the films Private and Hungry Hearts

Locations have yet to be chosen but the Campania Film Commission hopes the whole series can be filmed in Naples, the Italian city where all of the novels take place. Casting director Laura Muccino is currently seeking actresses to play the leading roles of Elena and Lila, characters who have developed a cult international following throughout the years. For those who are eagerly anticipating the series premiere, the first season is expected to air in the fall of 2018. 





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