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The Morning Show and Selma stars will front the page-to-screen version of J.P. Delaney's novel.

By Joey Nolfi
March 02, 2021 at 10:00 AM EST
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Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo have landed prime real estate at HBO Max.

The decorated acting pair will front the streaming service's upcoming adaptation of writer J.P. Delaney's 2016 novel The Girl Before, which the BBC will co-produce as a thrilling limited series about a woman's connection to a peculiar architect's house.

Mbatha-Raw (The Morning Show) stars as Jane, who moves into an ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic man played by Oyelowo (Selma), who allows her to live there on one condition: She must abide by his list of precise rules. Soon after, Jane starts to feel the house taking over her life — especially after she discovers that her predecessor died there.

Delaney first wrote the project under a pseudonym, and it went on to sell over 1 million copies worldwide. Ron Howard was previously slated to direct a film adaptation of the book for Universal Pictures, though it appears the HBO Max and BBC One project will release first.

"I'm so excited to work with this amazing team on such a compelling story in my debut role as an actor and producer," Mbatha-Raw said in a press statement.

Oyelowo added: "This story is mind bending in its clever construction and intricacy. I can't wait to see it, let alone be in it. Plus, I'd go anywhere to work with my friend Gugu again."

Delaney, who will co-write the second and third episodes with screenwriter Marissa Lestrade, also explained that he only wanted to adapt the novel if he could find partners who similarly wanted to produce "high-quality, classy storytelling" for the adaptation. Killing Eve and Servant director Lisa Brühlmann is set to help bring that vision to life across the project's limited run.

The Girl Before limited series will stream domestically on HBO Max, and on BBC One and the BBC iPlayer in Britain. A release date has yet to be announced.

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