Oscar winner Natalie Portman will executive produce and star in The Days of Abandonment for HBO Films, which is currently in pre-production on the project.
Maggie Betts (Novitiate) will write and direct the adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novel, and she’ll also executive produce the movie alongside the author.
The Days of Abandonment follows Tess (Portman), a woman who abandoned her own dreams for a stable home life, only to find her world thrown off its axis when she is in turn abandoned by her husband. Per HBO, the film will be “a visceral, no-holds-barred journey into the mind of a woman in crisis that confronts the norms of motherhood and female identity as Tess traverses the darkest reaches of her own psyche.”
Portman will executive produce alongside Sophie Mas via their MountainA banner, and they’ll be joined as EPs by Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Screen Media, Len Amato of Crash & Salvage, Domenico Procacci for Fandango, and Maria Zuckerman. HBO Films is producing the movie in association with Medusa, and the project is already in pre-production.
The Days of Abandonment will serve as a reunion between Betts and Maven Screen Media, which produced Novitiate. That film starred Margaret Qualley as a young woman who starts to question her faith as she trains to become a nun, and earned Betts the top directing award at Sundance. Maven is devoted to addressing the gender imbalance in film by focusing on narratives told through the female lens.
Portman is also dedicated to telling female-driven stories at MountainA, which is behind Apple‘s upcoming limited series Lady in the Lake. Portman will make her TV acting debut in the high-profile series, which pairs her with fellow Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.
The Days of Abandonment was previously turned into an acclaimed 2005 Italian film from director Roberto Faenza, while Maggie Gyllenhaal makes her directorial debut with an upcoming adaptation of Ferrante‘s 2008 book The Lost Daughter that stars Olivia Colman. Ferrante‘s novel My Brilliant Friend was turned into an HBO series in 2018 that was produced by Procacci‘s Fandango, and a series based on Ferrante‘s latest novel, The Lying Life of Adults, is currently in development at Netflix.