Culture / Film

Natalie Portman is set to star in an Elena Ferrante adaptation – and no, it’s not ‘The Lying Life of Adults’

Days of Abandonment

Here at RUSSH, we love nothing more than a book to film or series adaptation; particularly when the beloved Natalie Portman is involved. Bring in the revered work of Italian novelist, Elena Ferrante, and you have a match made in heaven. Such is the case for HBO's latest project; the upcoming limited series adaptation of Ferrante's 2002 novel, Days of Abandonment.

The book follows the story of an Italian woman named Tess, (who Portman will portray); who abandoned her own dreams for a stable life with her husband and growing family. That is until after 15 years, her husband leaves her for a younger woman and her world is thrown into turmoil. Left on her own to take care of her two young children, while simultaneously balancing rediscovering her own identity; Tess enters crisis mode. In its essence, The Days of Abandonment is an all-too-real tale of a woman re-invigorating her own sense of self after years of being defined by her relationship to family and motherhood.

The film version will be written and directed by Maggie Betts; who made her mark in 2017 with her debut feature Novitiate. In addition to leading the cast, Portman is also taking on the role of executive producer – a title she will share with Ferrente herself. The all-star team is a serious get; given that Ferrente has generally removed herself from the public eye for much of her career. During an interview with The New York Times in 2014, Ferrente spoke candidly about her pseudonymous approach, stating; “I didn’t choose anonymity; the books are signed... Instead, I chose absence. More than 20 years ago I felt the burden of exposing myself in public. I wanted to detach myself from the finished story. I wanted the books to assert themselves without my patronage.”

Days of Abandonment isn't the first time Portman and Ferrente's paths have crossed. In 2016, Portman – who is a Ferrente devotee – narrated the audio version of her children's book The Beach at Night. Last year, Portman even interviewed the translator behind Ferrente's novels, Ann Goldstein; which may have been an indication of collaborations to come. Days of Abandonment is currently in post-production, so stay tuned for more details around the release date.


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