There’s nothing stronger than a sisterly bond. That’s definitely the case for the Locke sisters who are behind Netflix's book adaption of the hit series From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home, starring Zoe Saldana. Written by actress-turned-author Tembi Locke, it landed on The New York Times Bestseller Paperback Nonfiction list in the number five slot this week, three years after its initial publication.
Locke’s own sister, Attica Locke, saw the memoir’s potential to be a limited series. The When They See Us and Little Fires Everywhere producer took the project to Netflix in 2019 via Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company, which hones in on female-led literary adaptations.
Tembi wanted to share the story of a woman of color on a journey of self-discovery, “through marriage, motherhood, loss, grief and reimagining family, over the arc of a life and a love. Because not only had I lived it, but as a viewer, I had longed to see it.”
Netflix launched the series this year on October 21, and it rose to the top slot on the streamer with 72 million viewing hours, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We wanted to tell a story about love in all its forms,” Attica says. Zoe Saldana stars in the leading role and also executive-produced the series.
From Scratch is a dramatic retelling of Tembi’s real-life experience of falling for Saro Gullo, a professional chef, while she was visiting Florence, Italy. While it was love at first sight, his family did not approve of him being with a Black American woman. The couple moved forward without their blessings, marrying in 1995 and adopting a newborn girl. Tembi and her husband finally reconciled with his family when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The book chronicles three summers her character spends in Sicily as she pieces together a life without her husband, who died in 2012, and finds solace and nourishment at her mother-in-law’s table.
“I remember feeling an awesome responsibility to tell this particular love story—my story—because portraying the complexity of it would only work if we were fully authentic, as storytellers and as sisters,” Tembi reveals. “And because it was unlike anything either of us had ever seen on screen, a love story that doesn’t end at the meet-cute, we knew we would be carving a new path.”
Attica adds, "We knew instinctively that From Scratch is a story of epic love in all its forms, from eros to agape, one that centers around a Black woman's coming of age, a story that begins when she goes against her family to study abroad and falls in love with art, Italy and herself.”