Clemency director Chinonye Chukwu has been tapped as the director of the first two episodes of the HBO Max limited series, Americanah. Chukwu won the top prize at Sundance in 2019 for Clemency, becoming the first Black director to do so.
From showrunner Danai Gurira, the series stars Lupita Nyong’o, Zackary Momoh, Uzo Aduba and Corey Hawkins. The series is based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same name.
“Fresh off her Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Clemency, we are thrilled to have Chinonye direct the first two episodes of Americanah,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “When she spoke so passionately about what it meant to her as a Nigerian filmmaker to tell this story, we knew we had the perfect partner to work alongside Danai, Lupita, and Plan B.”
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.
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.
Chukwu is also set to direct an adaptation of former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown’s memoir, A Taste of Power.
Photo: Getty Images
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