Two-time Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo (Selma) will headline the cast of the upcoming British psychological thriller limited series The Girl Before alongside Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror: San Junipero), according to The Hollywood Reporter. While this is not the first time that their work as actors has brought them together, the series represents the first time the pair has partnered on a television show.
The two performers first shared the screen in the 2018 science fiction horror film The Cloverfield Paradox, and were allegedly the first cast members attached to the project back when it was known by its working title God Particle, as reported by Slash Film. Oyelowo provided the voice of the villainous disembodied brain The It in the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time directed by Ava DuVernay (When They See Us). Mbatha-Raw played a supporting role in the movie as the main character’s mother. In the 2020 fantasy film Come Away, Oyelowo plays the father of main character Alice (Keira Chansa, The Irregulars) and Mbatha-Raw plays the adult incarnation of Alice who narrates the film’s events. The pair shares a mutual collaborator in the form of Amma Asante (A Way of Life), who directed Oyelowo in A United Kingdom and Mbatha-Raw in Belle a few years prior. Oyelowo expressed how pleased he was to work with Mbatha-Raw again on his Instagram.
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The Girl Before is an eerie tale that reportedly promises mind-bending twists aplenty: “Jane (Mbatha-Raw)… gets the chance to live in a beautiful, minimalist house designed by enigmatic architect Edward (Oyelowo). However, all new tenants… must abide by the exacting house rules that include no books, no photos and no clutter. Jane feels the house is changing her and things come to a head when she discovers the fate of her predecessor Emma and the unnerving similarities in their lives,” via The Hollywood Reporter. The limited series is based on the best-selling novel by J.P. Delaney, the pseudonym of author Anthony Capella (The Empress of Ice Cream). Capella will serve as the showrunner on The Girl Before and Lisa Brühlmann (Killing Eve, Castle Rock) will direct all four chapters, Variety reports.
The BBC recently secured a official stateside distribution commitment for The Girl Before from HBO Max, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The WarnerMedia streamer was discussed as the frontrunner for the acquisition as early as January 2021, as reported by Deadline. The media conglomerate could use The Girl Before to expand its catalog of female-fronted thriller series, which includes mega-hits such as The Undoing and The Flight Attendant. Meanwhile, BBC One plans to air The Girl Before as part of the channel’s linear programming and have ITV Studios handle international distribution plans, via The Hollywood Reporter.
Capella’s novel The Girl Before is available to purchase via most major book retailers, or alternately, as an audiobook featuring the voices of Emilia Fox (Silent Witness) and Finty Williams (Angelina Ballerina).