“Due to unforeseen personal reasons, Natalie Portman has stepped down from HBO Films’ Days of Abandonment prior to the start of filming,” HBO said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the production will not move forward. 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.”
Details on why Portman stepped down were not immediately known.
The film, which had been in pre-production, hailed from writer-director Maggie Betts (Novitiate), Portman and her MountainA Films, Maven Screen Media, Len Amato’s Crash & Salvage and Fandango. Ferrante also served as an executive producer.
Written and directed by Betts, The Days of Abandonment revolved around Tess (Portman). When Tess, who abandoned her own dreams for a stable home life, is in turn abandoned by her husband, her world is thrown off its axis. Adapted from Ferrante’s tour-de-force novel, it’s 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 cast also included Rafi Spall and Mary-Louise Parker. THR first reported the news.