Forthcoming streaming platform HBO Max gave an official series order to their adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel Americanah.
Nyong’o, who won an Oscar for her performance in 12 Years a Slave, will star in the 10-episode limited series that will be written and showrun by Gurira. Both will executive produce.
Americanah will star Nyong’o as Ifemelu, described as “a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze,” according to a network description. Ifemelu and Obinze both flee their military-ruled country with Ifemelu heading to America and Obinze heading to London. While Ifemelu is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to black, despite her academic success in the U.S., the post-9/11 climate closes America off to Obinze, who’s then forced to live undocumented in the U.K.
“Through Americanah, Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way,” Tony-nominated Gurira said in a statement of the original novel. “It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humor, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific. I am honored 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.”
Nyong’o, who’s been attached to the adaptation since 2014, added, “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.”
This marks one of Gurira’s first efforts since mapping her departure from AMC’s The Walking Dead. It’s unclear if both she and Nyong’o will officially return for Marvel’s sequel to Black Panther, but the film has been slated for release on May 6, 2022.