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Psychological suspense novel The Girl Before was widely lauded as one of the fiction smash hits of 2016 – and has since sold over a million copies. Now fans of the book can look forward to seeing the gripping tale come to life on screen, with the news that there’s a new BBC adaptation in the works.
The broadcaster recently announced that the project will be created, written and executive produced by JP Delaney, author of the global bestseller on which the new limited four-part series is based. Screenwriter Marissa Lestrade will also co-write the episodes, with Emmy-nominated Lisa Brühlmann, who has previously worked on the likes of Blue My Mind and Killing Eve, directing the BBC One show.
It will star English actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw (known for her stand-out performances in hits like The Morning Show and Misbehaviour), as Jane, a woman who seemingly strikes lucky when she’s offered the unusual chance to move into a stunning minimalist home. Yet the mysterious architect behind the house – played by Bafta and Emmy-nominated David Oyelowo – has certain terms for the arrangement; namely that Jane has to abide by a set of curious, hyper-specific rules. Things soon take a darker turn, as Jane discovers that she had a predecessor (hence the novel’s name), who met an untimely death in the house.
David Oyelowo with Gugu Mbatha-Raw
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Mbatha-Raw is not only the star of the series, but involved in its production behind the camera too. The actress is quoted as stating: ‘I’m so excited to work with this amazing team on such a compelling story in my debut role as actor/ producer.’ Oyelowo added: ‘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.’
Delaney said of the news: ‘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.’
The Girl Before will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK and HBO Max in the US, through a co-commission deal brokered by ITV Studios in the role of international distributor. While no release dates have yet been announced, the BBC added that ‘additional casting and filming details will follow in due course’. Watch this space.
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