Elena Ferrante’s series of Neapolitan novels combine the history of a complex female friendship with the history of postwar Italy … but what if they just didn’t? Speaking at a conference in Italy, Sarah Doole, the director of global drama at FremantleMedia, which is co-producing the upcoming adaptation of Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend with HBO, said that one American network the company pitched initially wanted to transplant the show’s story to America — specifically, Brooklyn*. “We really had to stand by our point to obtain maximum fidelity to the books.” Doole said, according to Screendaily. However, the project eventually ended up at HBO, who were totally okay with keeping the books’ Italian setting. “The moment HBO decided to produce Elena Ferrante in Italy [where it is now shooting] was a turning point for everyone,” Doole said. “It means America is open for business.” Maybe people really can pay attention to stories about people from countries other than their own.
*Citing Screendaily, this post originally misstated the network that had wanted to change the setting. Per FremantleMedia, HBO “has always been fully onboard with the story being set in Naples.”