The Days of Abandonment has been abandoned at HBO.
The premium cable network has pulled the plug on the TV movie based on the novel by My Brilliant Friend author Elena Ferrante that was set to star Oscar winner Natalie Portman.
“Due to unforeseen personal reasons, Natalie Portman has stepped down from HBO Films’ Days of Abandonment prior to the start of filming. Unfortunately, the production will not move forward,” reps for HBO said in a statement to THR. “We are very sorry we won’t be able to bring this beautiful story to the screen with our talented writer-director and cast. We send our sincere thanks to our cast, producers, and crew for all their passion and hard work.”
Additional details surrounding Portman’s decision to drop out were not immediately available. Reps for the actress and producer declined further comment. The project was due to begin filming soon in Sydney after receiving a $3.4 million grant from local officials.
Picked up in April and immediately put in pre-production, Portman was set to star and exec produce the movie. Maggie Betts (Novitiate) adapted Days of Abandonment and was set to direct and exec produce alongside with Portman and her MountainA partner, Sophie Mas, Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Screen Media; former HBO Films head Len Amato of Crash & Salvage; Ferrante; Domenico Procacci of Fandango; and Maria Zuckerman. HBO Films produced in association with Medusa.
The Days of Abandonment — which was previously adapted for a 2006 Italian film — centers on Tess (Portman), a woman who abandoned her own dreams for a stable home life and is in turn abandoned by her husband, throwing her world off its axis. The movie was poised to explore the mind of a woman in crisis, who confronts the norms of motherhood and female identity as Tess traverses the darkest reaches of her own psyche.
The Days of Abandonment was to have been Portman’s second high-profile TV foray. She also is set to star alongside Lupita Nyong’o in an Apple limited series based on Laura Lippman’s novel Lady in the Lake. Portman inked a first-look TV deal with Apple in March. HBO, meanwhile, has renewed My Brilliant Friend, the series based on Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, for a third season.