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Chinonye Chukwu. Photo credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images North America.

Chinonye Chukwu, the Igbo-born director of last year’s Sundance award-winning film Clemency, will be directing the first two episodes of the Americanah TV series, HBO Max has announced. This comes a day after Corey Hawkins joined the cast as Ifemelu’s Yale professor boyfriend Blaine. Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s third novel, the 10-episode limited series, optioned by Lupita Nyong’o and to be produced by HBO Max with a script by Danai Gurira, already has a starry cast that includes Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave; Black Panther) as Ifemelu, Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) as Aunty Uju, and Zachary Momoh (Harriet) as Obinze.

“Fresh off her Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Clemency, we are thrilled to have Chinonye direct the first two episodes of Americanah,” says Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max’s head of original content. “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.”

Chukwu’s film Clemency, written by her and starring Alfre Woodard, won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Festival last year, making her its first black female recipient. Clemency went on to be nominated at the 2019 Gotham Awards and the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Corey Hawkins. Photo credit: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock.

Hawkins has appeared in the films Straight Outta Compton, BlacKkKlansman, and Kong: Skull Island. He recently finished production on the film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights.

The Americanah series will be executive-produced by Gurira, Nyong’o for Eba Productions, Plan B Entertainment, Andrea Calderwood for Potboiler Television, Didi Rea and Danielle Del for D2 Productions, and Nancy Won and Erika L. Johnson.

We will keep you updated on the project.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he sits on the judging panels of The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships and of The Gerald Kraak Prize. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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