Italian filmmaker Saverio Costanzo will direct all eight episodes

By Nick Romano
March 30, 2017 at 12:50 PM EDT
Venturelli/WireImage; Europa Editions

It was revealed last year that Wildside and Fandango Productions had plans to bring Elena Ferrante‘s Neapolitan novels to television, but now we know the network and the format. HBO announced Thursday that a miniseries based on My Brilliant Friend, the first of the author’s quartet, will begin filming this summer under the direction of Italian filmmaker Saverio Costanzo.

The network released a plot description for the eight-episode drama miniseries to accompany the announcement: “When the most important friend in her life seems to have disappeared without a trace, Elena Greco, a now-elderly woman immersed in a house full of books, turns on her computer and starts writing the story of their friendship. She met Raffaella Cerullo, whom she has always called Lila, in the first year of primary school in 1950. Set in a dangerous and fascinating Naples, their story thus begins and goes on to cover over 60 years of their lives, trying to describe the mystery of Lila, Elena’s brilliant friend and — in a way — her best friend, her worst enemy.”

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No casting has been announced yet, but we know Costanzo is directing all episodes in Italian based on a script he worked on with Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, and Laura Paolucci. Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani from Wildside are producing with Domenico Procacci from Fandango. Jennifer Schuur will executive-produce, while RAI handles international distribution.

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

Ferrante’s works are also getting a two-part stage adaptation from writer April De Angelis and London’s Rose Theatre Kingston, also titled My Brilliant Friend.