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Freeform is developing a drama series based on the book “Make Your Home Among Strangers” by Jennine Capó Crucet, Variety has exclusively learned.
The project is described as a cross-generational drama that follows both a Cuban-American girl who struggles her freshman year at an elite New England college and the chaotic family she leaves behind in Miami, all set against the backdrop of the explosive Elian Gonzalez trial in the 1990s. The series explores issues of identity, race, and class in America as the protagonist grapples with two worlds that place conflicting demands on her.
Both the “Make Your Home Among Strangers” novel and television series are loosely pulled from events in Capó Crucet’s own life. The writer, who describes herself on her website as a “reformed chonga,” was the first person in her family to be born in the United States after her family moved to Florida from Cuba. After growing up in Hialeah, a suburb of Miami that is majority Latino, Capó Crucet experienced somewhat of a culture shock as a first-generation student at Cornell University.
“Make Your Home Among Strangers,” published in 2015, was Capó Crucet’s first novel. She has since written a collection of short stories entitled “How to Leave Hialeah” as well as a host of other stories and essays. Her next book “My Time Among the Whites: Essays,” which examines the meaning of the “American Dream” after the 2016 election, is expected to arrive in fall 2019.
Capó Crucet will serve as consulting producer with Jonathan Baruch of StoryBy Entertainment executive producing, while Danny Tolli will write the adaptation in addition to serving as executive producer. Tolli previously wrote for the ABC drama series “The Catch” and is also the co-chair of the WGA’s Latino Writers Committee.
Catalina Aguilar Mastretta, who previously directed multiple episodes of the Starz series “Vida” as well as the films “Everybody Loves Somebody” and “The Hours with You,” is attached to direct the project. Her untitled bilingual comedy pilot about a woman and her relationships in Hollywood Hills was also recently picked up by Amazon.