The TV adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s bestselling novel, ‘Americanah’, has been in the works since actress Lupita Nyong’o bought the film rights back in 2014.
Since then, she has been working on the screenplay with fellow “Black Panther” castmate, Danai Gurira. Now, we have more details about the project. Here is everything we know so far:
HBO Max has given a straight-to-series order for the TV adaptation
Variety reports that the bestselling novel has received a straight-to-series order from the popular American cable network. This means there will be no pilot (trial episode) for the TV adaption since the network has committed to buy and air the entire series.
"Americanah has sparked a cultural phenomenon and is revered by fans around the world," said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max. "It has affected me deeply as one of the most moving, socially relevant and romantic stories of our time. 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."
Americanah will be a limited series
The TV adaption will be a limited series with just 10 episodes. It was initially supposed to be a movie starring David Oyelowo.
It is a joint project involving Nyong’o and Gurira
Nyong’o will star in the series as an Igbo girl named Ifemelu, while her fellow Black Panther actor Gurira will write the pilot and serve as showrunner. The two visited Lagos state, Nigeria in 2018 to do some research. There are reports that the series could be shot here.
Sharing her excitement about making and acting in the series, the acclaimed actress Nyong’o said: “‘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 also shared her thoughts on the adaptation saying, "Through 'Americanah,' Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way."
She added, "It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humour, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific. I am honoured 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."
Americanah is Nyong’o and Gurira’s fourth project. The two worked together in ‘Black Panther’, ‘Avengers: Endgame’, and Gurira’s play ‘Eclipsed.’
The series is a beautiful, powerful story of identity and race
Adichie’s ‘Americanah’ follows the lives of two young lovers, Ifemelu and Obinze. These two leave military-ruled Nigeria in search of greener pastures.
The female lead Ifemelu succeeds in leaving first for the United States, where she deals with it means to be black for the first time. Unable to leave with her, Obinze makes his way to London as an undocumented immigrant. The two eventually reunite nearly two decades later. The series marks Nyongo'o's first regular TV role.
Some Nigerians are not happy about Nyong’o’s role in Americanah
News of the Oscar-winner playing the female lead Ifemelu has been met with mostly negative reactions with many saying they would prefer a Nigerian actress for this role.
Here are some Twitter reactions: