Americanah: HBO Max Series Adds Director Chinonye Chukwu

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WarnerMedia has turned to some very famous, talented people to jumpstart its upcoming HBO Max streaming platform. But they may have outdone themselves with this latest news.

HBO Max, now a recognized division within WarnerMedia, announced that they have ordered a straight-to-series adaptation of the best-selling novel Americanah from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o (Us, Black Panther) will star in the series while actress Danai Gurira (Black Panther, The Walking Dead) will write the pilot and serve as showrunner on the series.

Americanah has sparked a cultural phenomenon and is revered by fans around the world. It has affected me deeply as one of the most moving, socially relevant and romantic stories of our time,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max said in a statement. “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.”

Americanah was published in 2013 and won its author, Adichie, the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Fiction award. It tells the story of Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who immigrates to the United States to attend college. While in the U.S. Ifemelu deals with leaving her high school love behind and contends with what it means to be black in the post 9/11 Western world.

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Nyong’o, who can most recently be seen in horror film Little Monsters, will portray Ifemelu.

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,” said Nyong’o. “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.”

Danai Gurira, best known for portraying Michonne on The Walking Dead was nominated for a Tony award in the writing category for 2016’s Eclipse. This will be her first time running a TV show.

There is no word on a release date yet for Americanah but HBO Max is expected to launch in spring 2020.

Alec Bojalad is TV Editor at Den of Geek and TCA member. Read more of his stuff here. Follow him at his creatively-named Twitter handle @alecbojalad

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