By John Koblin
Ferrante Fever is coming to HBO.
The premium cable channel will broadcast a new drama series based on the international literary hit “My Brilliant Friend,” the book by Elena Ferrante, HBO said on Thursday.
The series, which will include eight episodes in the first season, with the potential for more, will go into production this summer. It will be filmed in Italian and will run with English subtitles on HBO.
Also titled “My Brilliant Friend,” the series will be a coproduction: HBO will carry the series along with the Italian state broadcaster RAI, and the show will be produced by the Italian production company Wildside and Fandango Productions. Wildside also produced the Jude Law series “The Young Pope,” which was broadcast on HBO in America, and made with Canal+ and Sky.
“My Brilliant Friend” is the first of Ms. Ferrante’s four Neapolitan Novels, which trace the friendship of two girls, Elena and Lila, in postwar Naples. The others are “The Story of a New Name,” “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay” and “The Story of the Lost Child.”
The TV adaptation of the books was announced earlier this month, though at the time it was unclear which network would carry the series in the United States. The ultimate aim is to adapt all four novels, for a total of 32 episodes.
So far HBO has committed only to the first eight-episode season, but the network said it has the rights to the subsequent seasons based on the other books.
A stage adaptation of the novels debuted in London in February.
Ms. Ferrante, who writes under a pen name, has been at the center of enormous literary world intrigue. Her books have sold millions of copies, and has ignited so-called Ferrante Fever internationally. There have also been several attempts to reveal her identity, with each try kicking up controversy.
Ms. Ferrante will be involved in shepherding “My Brilliant Friend” into a TV series. Saverio Costanzo (“Private,” “Hungry Hearts”) is directing the eight episodes.
In a statement, Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming, said: “Through her characters, Elena and Lila, we will witness a lifelong friendship set against the seductive social web of Naples, Italy. An exploration of the complicated intensity of female friendship, these ambitious stories will no doubt resonate with the HBO audience.”