Fremantle and iQIYI take My Brilliant Friend to China

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China is the latest international market to be captivated by the critically-acclaimed drama, My Brilliant Friend, following a major deal between the global producer and distributor, Fremantle and the leading Chinese video platform, iQIYI.

A HBO (US), Rai Fiction and TIMVISION series, My Brilliant Friend is the first of the Elena Ferrante’s sensational bestselling novels, published in the US by Europa Editions, centering on the lives of Elena Greco and Raffaella Cerullo, to be brought to screen. The series has recently been renewed for a second season, which will be based on Ferrante’s second book in her quadrilogy,The Story of a New Name.

My Brilliant Friend follows Elena Greco as the most important friend in her life seems to have disappeared without a trace. Elena a now-elderly woman immersed in a house full of books, turns on her computer and starts writing the story of their friendship. She met Raffaella Cerullo, whom she has always called Lila, in the first year of primary school in 1950. Set in a dangerous and fascinating Naples, their story goes on to cover more than 60 years of their lives as she tries to describe the mystery of Lila, Elena’s brilliant friend and – in a way – her best friend, her worst enemy.

“With its incredible scripts and iconic characters, My Brilliant Friend has fast become one of the standout series of the year. Since its launch on HBO and Rai, it has received huge critical acclaim from reviewers,” said Haryaty Rahman, SVP, Distribution Asia, International, Fremantle. “We’re excited to be working with iQIYI, one of the biggest streaming services in the region, to bring this powerful story to China. Ferrante’s writing has captured many imaginations around the world, and with Saverio’s Costanzo’s adaptation already enjoying global success, we are confident the series will resonate with iQIYI’s audience.”

“Elena Ferrante’s masterpiece has been well recognized by Chinese readers for the past years. The genuineness and delicacy of the friendship between the two female characters resonates with millions over the time and across the borders.” said an iQIYI spokesperson. “We are very much looking forward to introducing this brilliant TV adaptation to our users.”

The drama had its debut on HBO (US) on the 18th November and has gone on to attract global audiences, with the Wall Street Journal calling the series “a stunning achievement” and Time describing it as “everything the adaptation of a great book should be.” The Independent (UK) referred to it as “one of the biggest TV events of the year” and the Telegraph stated that it’s “a powerful and nuanced story of a bygone era.”


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