China’s iQIYI Picks Up HBO Drama ‘My Brilliant Friend’ After Striking Deal With Fremantle International

My Brilliant Friend is heading to China after digital platform iQIYI struck a deal with distributor Fremantle International.

My Brilliant Friend is the tale of Elena Greco and the most important friend in her life. She met Raffaella Cerullo, whom she has always called Lila, in the first year of primary school in 1950. Set in a dangerous and fascinating Naples, their story goes on to cover more than 60 years of their lives and explores the mystery of Lila, Elena’s brilliant friend and – in a way – both her best friend and her worst enemy.

Filmed in Italian, the eight-episode first season stars newcomers Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti as the younger versions of Elena and Lila, while Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace portray teenage versions of the characters. All episodes are directed by Saverio Costanzo.

My Brilliant Friend is an HBO, RAI Fiction and Timvision series, produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and by Domenico Procacci for Fandango in co-production with Umedia Production. Story and screenplays are by Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Costanzo. Jennifer Schuur is the executive producer, and FremantleMedia International is the international distributor.

The eight-episode first season is based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling book of the same name, which is the first of her four-part series published in the U.S. by Europa Editions. It has already been picked up for a second season, which will be based on The Story of a New Name, her second book in the series.

“With its incredible scripts and iconic characters, My Brilliant Friend has fast become one of the standout series of the year. Since its launch on HBO and Rai, it has received huge critical acclaim from reviewers,” said Haryaty Rahman, SVP, Distribution Asia, International, Fremantle. “We’re excited to be working with iQIYI, one of the biggest streaming services in the region, to bring this powerful story to China. Ferrante’s writing has captured many imaginations around the world, and with Saverio Costanzo’s adaptation already enjoying global success, we are confident the series will resonate with iQIYI’s audience.”

“Elena Ferrante’s masterpiece has been well recognized by Chinese readers for the past years. The genuineness and delicacy of the friendship between the two female characters resonates with millions over the time and across the borders.” said an iQIYI spokesman. “We are very much looking forward to introducing this brilliant TV adaptation to our users.”

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