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.