HBO Max’s Americanah has tapped Zackary Momoh for a lead role opposite Lupita Nyong’o. The series is based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same name. It will be a 10-episode limited series starring Nyong’o. Danai Gurira is the showrunner and also wrote the pilot.
Here’s the description: Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu (Nyong’o), a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze (Momoh). Living in a military-ruled country, they each depart for the west, with Ifemelu heading for America, where, despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be Black. 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. A highly lauded tale that has become a leader in the cultural conversation, Americanah is an incredible exploration of the human experience that crosses three continents to give an empathetic, compelling view of the complex realities of race, politics, immigration and identity.
“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,” said Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max’s head of original content, in a prior 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.”
“Through Americanah, Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way. It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humor, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific,” said Gurira. “I am honored to bring her incredible novel to life on the screen. I’m thrilled to collaborate once again with Lupita who brings her astounding ability as a performer and producer shepherding this project, along with HBO MAX’s unbridled enthusiasm to bring this groundbreaking narrative to the TV audience.”
“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.”
Gurira, Nyong’o and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment are among the producers. Americanah has long been in the works. Nyong’o optioned the rights several years ago and primed Gurira to write. Before this announcement, it was last set as a film adaptation with Plan B producing and David Oyelowo was set to star with Nyong’o.
Momoh, who starred in Netflix’s Seven Seconds with Regina King, was on the big screen this year in Doctor Sleep and Harriet. He’ll also star in Joss Whedon’s HBO series, The Nevers.