Everyone’s favorite leading ladies from the blockbuster Marvel film, Black Panther, have reunited for HBO Max’s new limited series, Americanah. Lupita Nyong’o (Us, 12 Years a Slave) and Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) are teaming up to adapt the famous novel written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie into a 10 episode series for the WarnerMedia streaming service.
Nyong’o will star as a lead in the series, while Gurira serves as the showrunner for the first time. The series will follow the journey of Ifemelu, a Nigerian woman who leaves for America and her extraordinary experiences with love, heartache, adversity and self-discovery, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Through Americanah, Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way,” Gurira expressed. “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.”
Gurira and Nyong’o are both executive producers on the show, with Nyong’o producing under her Eba Productions banner. Nyong’o had expressed interest in adapting the novel into an independent film in the past, where she would star alongside David Oyelowo (Selma), according to Variety. She revealed last year that plans for the adaptation have changed to a series instead. Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, will continue to produce the show.
Nyong’o expressed that this has been a passion project for her since she read Chimamanda’s novel in 2013. “It’s a tale that is simultaneously timely and timeless,” she said. “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.”
HBO’s official synopsis describes Nyong’o’s character, Ifemelu, as “a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze. They each depart for the west, with Ifemelu heading for America, where, despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be black. Americanah is a highly lauded tale that has become a leader in the cultural conversation, an incredible exploration of the human experience that crosses three continents to give an empathetic, compelling view of the complex realities of race, politics, immigration and identity.”
“Americanah has sparked a cultural phenomenon and is revered by fans around the world,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, 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.”