The adaptation of Judy Blume’s 1975 young adult novel “Forever” has been greenlit by Netflix, the publisher announced Thursday.
The show is the first project from Mara Brock Akil’s 2020 comprehensive deal with Netflix to create new content for the show. Akil, best known as the creator of the popular 2000 UPN comedy series “Girlfriends,” will show and executive produce the series.
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“Judy Blume’s ability to capture the real emotions we experience during the various dramas of our childhood has influenced my life choices and writing voice,” Akil said in a statement Thursday. “I am honored to reimagine one of my favorite books, ‘Forever.’ I am excited to have the opportunity of a lifetime to connect with a childhood icon and bring this story to my home of Netflix, where the idea of your first love being with you Forever is shared with the world through the lens of Love love. “
The first book “Forever” focuses on Katherine Danziger and Michael Wagner, two high school seniors who meet at a New Year’s party and slowly start dating. As their relationship deepens and their attraction grows, the two young people, both virgins, are forced to confront their relationship and their sexuality. The book’s frank discussion of teenage sexuality caused little controversy when it was published, making it to the American Library Association’s list of the 100 most banned books of the ’90s. In 2005, it was the second-most banned book in the United States.
In the first book, Katherine and Michael were both portrayed as white – in the 1978 TV movie, they were played by Stephanie Zimbalist and Dean Butler. The Netflix show imagines them as black teenagers in the present day, exploring the experience of being each other’s first. Akil will produce “Forever” under the News27 production banner, with Susie Fitzgerald, Erika Harrison, and Blume also executive producing.
“We are excited to partner with Mara Brock Akil and Nhau27 on our first series, ‘Forever,'” Netflix vice president of all contracts Renate Radford said in a statement. “Mara’s creative and authentic storytelling allows us to present a new coming-of-age love story. We look forward to bringing the series to a global audience.”
“Forever” is not the only upcoming adaptation of Blume’s work known to young people. In April, Lionsgate will release a film adaptation of his popular 1970 novel “Is There a God? It’s Me, Margaret,” about a sixth-grader in a secular family struggling with her religion. “The Edge of Seventeen” director Kelly Fremon Craig directs the film, which stars Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, Benny Safdie, and Kathy Bates.Blume served as one of the film’s producers, along with James L. Brooks.
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