Chimamanda’s ‘Americanah’ Debuts on US Channel
The screen adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel, Americanah, is now a done deal. It has now been given a limited series of 10-episode to debut on HBO Max, an American Internet video on demand service owned by WarnerMedia Entertainment, a division of AT&T’s WarnerMedia. The channel will air the miniseries in10 episodes.
In 2014, it was announced that David Oyelowo and Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o would star in a film adaptation of the novel. In 2018, Nyong’o had told The Hollywood Reporter that she was developing a television miniseries based on the book by the Nigerian author, which she would produce and star in.
Nyong’o and Oyelowo will star in the HBO Max series, with Tony Award winning actress Danai Gurira writing the pilot and serving as show runner. Gurira and Lupita are executive producers, with Nyong’o producing under her Eba Productions banner. Plan B Entertainment will also produce, with Andrea Calderwood of Potboiler Television, Didi Rea and Danielle Del of D2 Productions.
Lupita said: Americanah has been a passion project for me since I read Chimamanda’s beautiful novel in 2013. It’s a tale that is simultaneously timely and timeless. 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.”
American actress cum playwright Gurira said, “Through ‘Americanah,’ Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way. 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.”
Kenyan-Mexican Nyong’o had previously planned to adapt the novel into a film in which she would star alongside David Oyelowo. She had revealed last year that the plans had changed to adapt it into a series instead.
“Americanah has sparked a cultural phenomenon and is revered by fans around the world,” Sarah Aubrey, Head of Original Content for HBO Max stated, adding, “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.”
The series marks a reunion for Nyong’o and Gurira, who starred together in the blockbuster Marvel film Black Panther. Nyong’o previously won an Oscar for her performance in 12 Years a Slave and is also known for starring in films such as ‘Us’ and ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ Americanah will mark her first regular TV role. Gurira currently stars in the hit AMC series The Walking Dead, though she is set to departfrom that series in its upcoming tenth season.
Americanah is a 2013 novel by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for which Adichie won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Fiction award. Americanah tells the story of a young Nigerian woman, Ifemelu, who immigrates to the United States to attend university.
The novel traces Ifemelu’s life in both countries, threaded by her love story with high school classmate Obinze.
As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Nigeria at the time is under military dictatorship, and people are seeking to leave the country.
Ifemelu departs for the United States to study.
Through her experiences in relationships and studies, she struggles with the experience of racism in American culture, and the many varieties of racial distinctions. Upon coming to America, Ifemelu discovered for the first time what it means to be a “Black Person”. Obinze, son of a professor, had hoped to join her in the US but he is denied a visa after 9/11. He goes to London, eventually becoming an undocumented immigrant after his visa expires.