Ferrante TV adaptation a hit in Venice

10-minute standing ovation for My Brilliant Friend

(ANSA) - Venice, September 3 - A TV adaptation of Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend got a 10-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday.
    The public lapped up the first two episodes of an eight-part series by Saverio Costanzo that will hit Italian TV screens this autumn.
    Ludovica Nasti and Gaia Girace, who play the young female leads, and Alba Rohrwacher, who is Ferrante's narrative voice, took a bow along with Costanzo. The TV mini-series based on the first book in Ferrante's bestselling Neapolitan Quartet will screen in the US and on RAI1 at a date to be set, producer Lorenzo Mieli said.
    The author writing under the pseudonym Elena Ferrante has said that she is "intrigued" by the fact that one of her Neapolitan novels is being made into a eight-part television mini-series.
    She added, in an interview with the New York Times published last May, that it is a "radical change" and that the "characters, the neighborhood are all created from words, and yet they move from literature to the screen. They leave the world of readers and enter into the much more vast world of spectators, they meet people who have never read about them and people who, for social circumstances or by choice, would never read about them. It's a process that intrigues me".
    The HBO-RAI mini-series based on her international best-selling novel "My Brilliant Friend" will be directed by Saverio Costanzo, produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and Domenico Procacci for Fandango.
    The author, who has always protected her real identity, was asked "What is your hope for this production as far as its impact on Naples and its image in the world, especially after the unflattering depictions in the movie and popular television show "Gomorrah"?".
    Her response was: "Cities don't have their own energy. It derives from the density of their history, from the power of their literature and arts, of the emotional richness of human events that take place against that background. I hope that the visual storytelling will stir authentic emotions - complex and even contradictory sentiments. This is what makes us fall in love with cities." The project does not foresee the author taking part directly in the writing of the screenplay, since, as she says "I don't have the technical skills to do it, but I am reading the texts and send detailed notes. I still don't know if they will take them into account. It is very likely that my notes will be used later on, in the writing of the final draft." Her interviewer Jason Horowitz wrote an article on a casting day for the mini-series in Naples.
    On the choice of who will be playing the part of the protagonists Lila and Lenu', she said that "I'd very much like to weigh in, but I would do it cautiously", since "no real person will ever match the image that I or a reader have in our minds. This is because the written word, of course, defines but by nature leaves much to reader's imagination. The visual image instead shrinks those margins. It is destined to always leave out something that the words inspire - something that always matters." In her eyes, "My Brilliant Friend" is "a realistic tale. It is childhood that is colored by elements of the fantastic, and surely Lila is too. As far as faithfulness to the book, I expect a faithfulness compatible with the needs of visual storytelling, which uses different means than writing to obtain the same effects." The author then answered ironically to the question: "HBO is involved in the production. Do you hope, or maybe fear, that this will become the next global phenomenon, Italy's "Game of Thrones"?", saying that "Unfortunately, "My Brilliant Friend" doesn't provide the same kind of plot points.".