Ferrante's 'My Brilliant Friend' being adapted for U.S., Italian TV

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Italian novelist Elena Ferrante's best-selling novel "My Brilliant Friend" is headed to television as an eight-part series, U.S. cable channel HBO and Italy's RAI television said on Thursday.

The novel, about two women's volatile childhood friendship and set in Naples in the 1950s, will be adapted by Ferrante and filmed in Italian, the two TV companies said in a statement.

No casting was announced for the principal roles of ambitious Elena Greco and her enigmatic friend Lila. Italian Saverio Costanzo will direct and production is expected to start this summer.

"My Brilliant Friend" is the first of four novels by Ferrante about the lives of the two characters amid the changing face of Italy through five decades.

HBO's president of programming, Casey Bloys, said the series would explore "the complicated intensity of female friendship."

"Through (Ferrante's) characters, Elena and Lila, we will witness a lifelong friendship set against the seductive social web of Naples, Italy," Bloys said.

The four Neapolitan Novels have become best-sellers in the United States and much of Europe, fueling intense speculation about the real identity of the author, who uses Ferrante as a pseudonym.

Despite various claims to have identified the person behind the name, Ferrante's Italian publishers have always denied them.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Dan Grebler)