The pandemic has deprived us of yet another eagerly anticipated TV project.
Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira's Americanah series is no longer moving forward at HBO Max, EW has confirmed. The project, an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's acclaimed novel, was greenlit as a 10-episode limited series last year, with Nyong'o to star and Gurira serving as writer and showrunner. However, production delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced Nyong'o to drop out of the series over scheduling conflicts, which led to HBO Max's decision to drop the project.
Representatives for Nyong'o and Gurira did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
Americanah is a longtime passion project for Nyong'o, who has been attached to a potential adaptation since 2014. The Oscar winner planned to star as Ifemelu, described as "a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze." The two flee their military-ruled country, with Ifemelu heading to America and Obinze heading to London. While Ifemelu is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be Black, despite her academic success in the U.S., the post-9/11 climate closes America off to Obinze, who's then forced to live undocumented in the U.K. Zackary Momoh and Uzo Aduba were also attached to star as Obinze and Ifemelu's aunt Uju, respectively.
"I'm involved with every angle of it," Gurira told EW of the series earlier this year. "It's not a small thing to be taking on a 600-page novel and bringing it to the fore as a TV show. But I realized that if I didn't do it I would never, ever forgive myself. Taking it on will require everything I've got, and then some."
This is the latest in a growing number of series to be called off for reasons related to the pandemic. Such shows as GLOW, Drunk History, and On Becoming a God in Central Florida have been "un-renewed" due to budgetary and scheduling issues caused by COVID-19.