HBO Scraps “Days of Abandonment” After Natalie Portman Quits

Natalie Portman in 2018
Natalie Portman in 2018. Photo by Jim Smeal/REX/Shutterstock (9376223an)

HBO has given up on Days of Abandonment, the movie based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novel My Brilliant Friend. The network made the decision shortly after lead star Natalie Portman exited the project.

In an official statement to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO explained that Portman left the movie prior to the start of the filming due to “unforeseen personal reasons”.

“Unfortunately, the production will not move forward,” said the network in a statement. “We are very sorry we won’t be able to bring this beautiful story to the screen with our talented writer/director and cast.”

Days of Abandonment was set to start with filming in Sydney, Australia, with Maggie Betts (Novitiate) serving as director. Besides Portman, the cast also featured Rafe Spall (The Big Short) and Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds).

Released in 2005, My Brilliant Friend is the first novel in Ferrante’s acclaimed four-part series Neapolitan Novels. The series centers on two girls, Elena Greco and Raffaella Cerullo, and follows them from childhood to old age.

HBO previously teamed up with Italian network Rai to adapt Neapolitan Novels as a television series. Two seasons have been released so far, with the third one being in the making.