Culture / TV

Tessa Thompson is working on a HBO series based on Raven Leilani’s ‘Luster’

Tessa Thompson Luster

Remember back in 2020, when Sally Rooney's Normal People came out, and the entire world was catapulted into a fervent, horny Irish craze over the series? I do, and today I will prepare to be in such craze again, with the announcement that Tessa Thompson is working on a TV adaptation of Raven Leilani's best-selling, award-winning debut novel, Luster.

Thompson is set to team up with HBO for the adaptation, which will be under her production company, Viva Maude and the studio Gaumont (Narcos MexicoLupin) Deadline reports.


The Plot

Just one year following Leilani's stunning debut, Luster follows Edie, a young Black artist living in Brooklyn and navigating life as a poor, and rather wayward twenty-something year old. The book focuses primarily not only on Edie's inner world, but her relationship with a middle-aged white man named Eric who is road-testing an open marriage, and their increasingly awkward circumstances as Edie finds herself moving in with the couple, and forming a bond with their adopted daughter, Akila.

The result, is an honest, awkward, sharp, and triumphant account of the mess being in your twenties is. Edie's interior is laid bare, with baggage and darkness and rage, and in Leilani's sprawling narrative, we come to not only be confronted by, but entangled in her acute depiction of the human condition in all its mess.


The Cast

Casting for Luster is still unconfirmed, but some details of the behind-the-scenes crew have emerged. Thompson and Kishori Rajan are executive producing. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award-winning theater director Lileana Blain-Cruz are writing the script.

In a statement to Deadline, Thompson praised Leilani as “a seminal voice for her generation.” She added: “In her work, which defies categorisation, there is an astonishingly singular quality that speaks to spirit of the types of narratives Viva Maude aims to showcase—bold, beautifully crafted, unapologetically human, imaginative and unconventional—it is thrilling to be teamed with Gaumont and the stunning talents of Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lileana Blain-Cruz to develop this story at HBO, the perfect home.”


We could not be more thrilled to see Leilani's first book come to life, and will keep the updates coming as they emerge.


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