Watch the Official Teaser for HBO’s TV Adaptation of MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante

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Kathleen Keenan

Staff Writer

Kathleen Keenan is a writer and children's book editor in Toronto. In addition to Book Riot, she has written for Reel Honey, The Billfold, and The Canadian Press. She also edits a monthly newsletter for the indie bookstore A Novel Spot. Kathleen has an MA in English with a focus on nineteenth-century fiction, and there is nothing she loves more than a very long Victorian novel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @KathleenMKeenan or find her writing even more about books at

HBO has released the first official teaser trailer for their TV adaptation of My Brilliant Friend. The new series will debut this fall with an 8-episode adaptation of the first book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels series.

Check out the teaser below!

Ferrante’s immensely popular and acclaimed series of four novels, which has earned praise from literary superstars like Zadie Smith and Jhumpa Lahiri, follows two girls, Elena and Lila, growing up in post-WWII Naples. In My Brilliant Friend, book one in the series, Elena and Lila are children in a poor neighborhood who push themselves to overcome their humble beginnings — using methods that lead to vastly different but parallel lives. As the books continue, Elena and Lila grow from children to young adults to women, all while trying to escape the firm hold their traditional Italian neighborhood and families have on them.

The identity of the woman behind the Neapolitan novels is one of publishing’s most interesting mysteries — “Elena Ferrante” is a pseudonym for an Italian author who chooses to remain anonymous. She gives only written interviews and prefers to let her writing speak for itself. It seems that she has been in contact with the director of the TV series, but they have not met in person.

Cover of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Though the series will be in Italian with English subtitles, which is new territory for a major HBO production, the TV adaptation of My Brilliant Friend has all the hallmarks of an HBO show: an intense casting process, intricate costumes, and elaborate sets. The actors playing Lila, Elena, and the other child characters will gradually be replaced as the characters age. This is a huge undertaking for HBO, but it could lead to massive success, given how beloved and popular Ferrante’s novels are, especially if the show can deliver the intensity and tension of the books.

The series will be 32 episodes in total, with 8 episodes to a season. My Brilliant Friend is out this November.

Check out all of Book Riot’s Elena Ferrante coverage.