Things are finally ramping up on the 10 series adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s critically acclaimed, award-winning novel.
HBO’s commitment to a 10 episode series of Americanah is huge! We were excited way back in about 2014 when it was announced Lupita Nyong’o had secured the rights to tell the story of Ifemelu and Obinze who are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
So, of course, Nyong’o who exec-produces the project will play Ifemelu, but even bigger news is that British Nigerian actor Zackary Momoh (Harriet, Seven Seconds) will star opposite Nyong’o as Obinze. Orange Is the New Black star, Uzo Aduba has also been cast as Aunty Uju.
Nyong’o’s homegirl Danai Gurira (Black Panther, The Walking Dead) co-exec-produces, wrote the pilot and will serve as the series’ showrunner. Nyongo’s production company Eba, joins forces with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, London based Potboiler Television, and D2 Productions. Side note Potboiler Television is run by BAFTA award-winning former head of drama at BBC Scotland Andrea Calderwood, who also produced Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Netflix drama, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
Americanah will push Momoh firmly into the limelight after a series of strong supporting roles including his recent stint as John Tubman opposite Cynthia Erivo as Harriet in the biopic, Harriet. Momoh will soon be seen in another HBO project The Nevers, a sci-fi drama series from Joss Whedon.
Listen to Zackary Momoh’s interview with TBB for BBC Radio 1Xtra here.