It’s always thrilling to see when South Africans make waves internationally. Cape Town-based author Lauren Beukes did exactly that with her involvement in an Apple TV+ series that is based on her novel, The Shining Girls. And judging by the reviews, we have good reason to be proud of her.
Lauren Beukes was already making a name for herself as an award-winning author by the time she wrote The Shining Girls. So it’s no surprise that her work caught the eye of Oscar-winner Leonardo Di Caprio’s production company, Appian Way Production, in 2013 (before The Shining Girls was even published).
Fast forward to April 29 this year and the series adaptation, titled Shining Girls, finally released on USA streaming site Apple TV+. Four episodes have been aired so far.
In this thriller, a Chicago Sun-Times research assistant investigates a murder that seems to be linked to an attack she experienced as a child. But as she delves deeper into her investigation, her reality inexplicably starts shifting around her while she’s dealing with both present and past horrors.
Shining Girls has elicited positive responses in the USA. Many of the reviews praise the amazing performance by Elisabeth Moss, who now plays the protagonist of Kirby Mazrach.
Moss is described as “ferociously intense and attentive to the minutest shift in her character’s mood or suffering” in a Guardian review, making her portrayal of Kirby and how her character deals with the ever-changing shifts in her reality even more striking. Moss has already proven her phenomenal acting skills in shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Mad Men, so it makes sense that her performance would lead Shining Girls to success.
But credit must also be given where credit is due: Cape Town’s Lauren Beukes had a big part in how the series was shaped. “I was involved as a consultant, I handed in a lot of my research materials to Silka Luisa (the showrunner for Shining Girls) from the people I interview such as an old-time Chicago cop and a veteran Chicago journalist. You can see those details coming through in the show,” she told The Citizen.
Though fans of the books can expect some deviations from the novel, Lauren still supports any and all changes made for the TV adaptation since they kept true to the heart of her book. She adds that “an adaption has to be something else, it is a different animal, it has to work on TV and the changes they made are really interesting. Some dialogue I wish I had written, because wow it’s amazing”.
It is currently available to stream on Apple TV+.
Picture: @laurenbeukes / Instagram