This best-selling novel unpicking domestic bliss is about to become a huge HBO series

This best-selling novel unpicking domestic bliss is about to become a huge HBO series


Written by Amy Beecham

Good news, novel fans. Raven Leilani’s poignant 2020 novel Luster will be hitting our screens as an HBO series, pioneered by Tessa Thompson.

It was a debut that took the literary world by storm, with Candice Carty-Williams calling it “the most delicious novel I’ve read” and Zadie Smith hailing it “brutal – and brilliant.” And now, Raven Leilani’s best-selling Luster is getting the Hollywood treatment: a HBO adaptation by none other than Tessa Thompson.

Thompson, who is currently starring in the adaption of Nella Larsen’s Passing, and her production company, Viva Maude, are helming the project alongside Gaumont, the production team behind the likes of Narcos, Lupin, Barbarians and El Presidente.

As Deadline reports, scripting Luster will be Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lileana Blain-Cruz, the recent recipient of the Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award. 

Tessa Thompson’s Viva Maude production company is behind the HBO adaptation of Luster

What is the plot of Luster?

According to the official synopsis: “Edie is a young Black artist living a precarious existence in New York City when she takes a white lover in an open marriage, eventually moving in with him and his wife in the suburbs. There she not only finds herself in an increasingly tense relationship with the couple, but also becoming an unlikely mentor to their adopted Black daughter Akila.”

The New Yorker termed it “an adultery novel with tricks up its sleeve,” in which “an extramarital affair undergoes a stealthy reversal when the homewrecker becomes part of the family.”

Who will star in Luster?

It’s not yet known whether Thompson herself will take a role, but as Deadline speculates, her already strong relationship with HBO from Westworld could sway it.

Thompson previously said of the book: “Luster marks the daring debut by Raven Leilani, a seminal voice for her generation. In her work, which defies categorization, there is an astonishingly singular quality that speaks to spirit of the types of narratives Viva Maude aims to showcase — bold, beautifully crafted, unapologetically human, imaginative and unconventional — it is thrilling to be teamed with Gaumont and the stunning talents of Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lileana Blain-Cruz to develop this story at HBO, the perfect home.”

We can only hope.

When will Luster be available to stream on HBO?

The project is still in the very, very early stages of production, but we will be sure to keep you updated on any and all exciting developments.

Images: Getty/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

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