HBO Films’ The Days of Abandonment Canceled as Natalie Portman Exits Project

By | August 3, 2021

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar winner Natalie Portman has officially exited as the leading star and executive producer in HBO Films’ TV movie adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s best-selling novel The Days of Abandonment. The acclaimed actress’ sudden departure is due to “unforeseen personal reasons.” Following her exit, HBO Films has ultimately decided to no longer move forward with the project, which was originally slated to begin its filming soon in Sydney, Australia.

“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,” HBO representatives said in a statement“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.”

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First published in 2002, The Days of Abandonment is described as a visceral, no-holds-barred journey into the mind of a woman in crisis that confronts the norms of motherhood and female identity as Tess traverses the darkest reaches of her own psyche. The film follows the story of Tess, a woman who abandoned her own dreams for a stable home life. Her world gets suddenly thrown off its axis when her husband abandons her.

Pick up a copy of the novel.

The film adaptation was set to be written and directed by Maggie Betts, who was also attached to executive produce. In addition to Portman, Emmy winner Mary-Louise Parker had also signed on to star in the now-canceled TV movie.

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The project was originally developed by HBO Films and Maven Screen Media, who previously worked with Betts’ feature directorial debut Novitiate. Executive producers who were previously attached to the project are MountainA’s Sophia Mas, Maven Screen Media’s Celine Rattray & Trudie Styler, Len Amato for Crash&Salvage, Fandango’s Domenico Procacci, and Maria Zuckerman.

The Days of Abandonment TV movie would have been Ferrante’s second collaboration with HBO after previously working on the TV adaptation of another one of her many acclaimed novels, My Brilliant Friend.