Black Panther's Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira Bring 'Americanah' to HBO Max
|Sep 17, 2019|
Black Panther stars Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira are teaming up once again to bring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel Americanah to HBO Max. The hit novel will be turned into a 10-episode limited series for the forthcoming streaming platform.
The limited series tells the story of Ifemelu (portrayed by Nyong’o), a Nigerian woman who leaves her home for America. The project follows Ifemelu’s story after she leaves Nigeria, separating from her teenage love Obinze.
Ifemelu travels to America and is forced to navigate love, heartache, adversity, and self-discovery, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show also follows Obinze’s story as he is denied access to the United States after 9/11. Heis forced to live an undocumented immigrant in London.
“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,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
“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.”
The role will be Nyong’o’s first in an American TV series. The Oscar-winner has starred in several blockbuster hits, including 12 Years a Slave, Jordan Peele’s Us, and in the latest iterations of the Star Wars series. Nyong’o said she first became passionate about the project when she read the novel in 2013.
“Americanah has been a passion project for me since I read Chimamanda’s beautiful novel in 2013,” Nyong’o said, according to Variety. “It’s this 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.”
As well as starring in the project, Nyong’o and Gurira serve as executive producers. Nyong’o will produce under her Eba Productions banner along with Plan B Entertainment. Andrea Calderwood of Potboiler Television, Didi Rea and Danielle Del of D2 Productions, and Nancy Won executive produce the series.
Gurira, who stars in the AMC hit show “The Walking Dead,” will serve as the project’s showrunner.
“Through Americanah, Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way,” Gurira said in a statement, according to EW. “It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humor, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal, and yet palpably specific.”
The Tony-nominated actor continued and said she was “honored” to bring the novel to life. “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,” Gurira said.
Nyong’o, has been working on the project since 2014, previously revealed that she wanted to adapt the novel into a film alongside David Oyelowo. According to Variety, Nyong’o revealed last year that she had pivoted the project to be adapted it into a series instead.
“Americanah” will join HBO Max’s list of scripted original series along with the neo-noir drama “Tokyo Vice,” a “Gossip Girl” reboot, the drama “The Flight Attendant,” which stars Kaley Cuoco, and a comedic anthology called “Love Life,” which will star Anna Kendrick. WarnerMedia also approved a retelling of The Odyssey for its newest streaming service.
The streaming service also will feature a library that includes “Friends,” “Game of Thrones,” and other series and films from the WarnerMedia’s properties, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
WarnerMedia announced HBO Max in July as its response to streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, and Apple TV Plus. HBO Max, which will bundle HBO, Cinemax, and the company’s catalogue of existing original content, will be launched in spring 2020. The streaming service is expected to cost between $16 and $17 a month, The Verge reported.
Gurira and Nyong’o previously starred in Marvel’s Black Panther, respectively, as Okoye, the head of the Wakandan armed forces, and Nakia, the love interest of T’Challa, the Black Panther. According to EW, it is unclear if the two actors will return for Black Panther’s sequel, which is slated for release on May 6, 2022.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.