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BBC, HBO Max adapt The Girl Before

UK pubcaster BBC1 and WarnerMedia-owned streamer HBO Max in the US have co-commissioned a drama based on JP Delaney’s psychological thriller novel The Girl Before, with David Oyelowo set to star.

David Oyelowo (photo: Tyler Boye via CC)

British author Delaney will write and exec produce the adaptation, which will take the form of a four-part limited series. Marissa Lestrade (White Stork) will co-write certain episodes of the series and Lisa Brühlmann (Killing Eve) will direct.

The Girl Before tells the story of Jane, who gets the chance to move into a beautiful, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect. There’s just one catch: occupants have to abide by the architect’s 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 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.’

Oyelowo (Selma, Les Misérables) has been cast as the architect, while Gugu Mbatha-Raw (The Morning Show, Black Mirror) will play Jane.

UK production company 42 is producing the series, with head of television Eleanor Moran and partners Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh exec producing. Ben Irving is exec producing for the BBC, while Delaney and Brühlmann will also exec produce. Mbatha-Raw is an associate producer. ITV Studios is handling international distribution.

JP Delaney is a pseudonym of Ugandan-born British author Tony Strong, who has also written under the pseudonym Anthony Capella. The Girl Before was published in 2016 and has sold more than a million copies.

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.

“Psychological thrillers can be even more gripping on television than they would be as movies, and I’m incredibly excited to be retelling this particular story in a visual medium.”

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