David Oyelowo (Selma; Les Misérables) is to join Gugu Mbatha-Raw (The Morning Show; Misbehaviour) as co star in 42’s upcoming psychological thriller The Girl Before for BBC One and HBO Max.
Created, written and exec produced by JP Delaney, the limited four-part series is adapted from Delaney’s own best-selling novel of the same title. Marissa Lestrade (White Stork; Deep State 2) will co-write episodes of the series and Emmy nominated Lisa Brühlmann (Killing Eve; Servant; Blue My Mind) will direct.
The Girl Before tells the story of Jane (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who gets the chance to move into a beautiful, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect (David Oyelowo). There’s just one catch: occupants have to abide by his list of exacting rules. Jane starts to feel the house changing her in unexpected ways but, when she makes the shocking discovery that her predecessor Emma died in the house, she’s forced to confront unnerving similarities. As the two women’s timelines interweave, Jane begins to question if her fate will be the same as the girl before…
Gugu Mbatha-Raw said: “I’m so excited to work with this amazing team on such a compelling story in my debut role as actor/producer.”
David Oyelowo said: “This story is mind bending in its clever construction and intricacy. I can’t wait to see it, let alone be in it. Plus, I’d go anywhere to work with my friend Gugu again.”
JP Delaney said: “Having written for the screen in a previous career, it’s long been a dream of mine to adapt The Girl Before, but I was determined to only do it if I could find partners who wanted to pursue high-quality, classy storytelling above all else. You really couldn’t get a more quality-focused line-up than 42, the BBC and HBO Max – and we’ve already attracted world-class talent in the shape of Lisa, Gugu and David. Psychological thrillers can be even more gripping on television than they would be as movies, and I’m incredibly excited to be re-telling this particular story in a visual medium. It’s also been great fun to collaborate on episodes two and three with a brilliant co-writer, Marissa Lestrade.”
Director, Lisa Brühlmann, said: “Can our surroundings, like a special house, affect who we are, even change us? The ability to change our beliefs and our character is highly fascinating to me. I can’t wait to bring this female driven thriller to life.”
Eleanor Moran and Rory Aitken, Executive producers for 42, said: “We’re thrilled to have the chance to bring JP Delaney’s adaptation of his unforgettable bestseller to the small screen. Gugu Mbatha-Raw always brings such emotional complexity to her roles, and having an actor as accomplished as David Oyelowo as her co-lead is a dream come true. Lisa Brühlmann’s singular vision will add a whole other layer to the show. We can’t wait to introduce a global audience to the extraordinary secrets hidden behind the walls of One Folgate Street.”
Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, said: “The scripts JP Delaney has prepared for The Girl Before are just as addictive and unputdownable as his riveting novel. To have Gugu and David leading the cast, Lisa Brühlmann directing and Marissa Lestrade co-writing episodes really underlines the quality of this production and I can’t wait to see One Folgate Street on screen.”
Jeniffer Kim, Senior Vice President, International Originals, HBO Max, said: “We jumped at the chance to co-produce JP Delaney’s intricate mind twister, The Girl Before, with the BBC and 42. With what will surely be stellar performances from the incomparable Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo, One Folgate Street is about to welcome new house guests from both sides of the pond.”
Executive Producers are Eleanor Moran, Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh for 42, Ben Irving for the BBC, JP Delaney and Lisa Brühlmann. Jeniffer Kim will oversee the project from HBO. Rhonda Smith will produce and Gugu Mbatha-Raw is an associate producer. The adaptation was commissioned for the BBC by Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer.
The Girl Before will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK and HBO Max in the US. ITV Studios is the international distributor and brokered the co-commission deal with HBO Max.
A global bestseller, The Girl Before has sold over one million copies since its publication in 2016. It is published by Quercus in the UK and Ballantine in the US.
Mbatha-Raw is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content and Curtis Brown. Oyelowo is repped by CAA, Hamilton Hodell and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano. Delaney is repped by United Agents and CAA. Bruhlmann is repped by 42 and CAA. Lestrade is repped by 42. Smith is repped by Berlin Associates.
Further casting and filming details to follow.
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