Academy Award and BAFTA winning actress Olivia Colman (The Favourite, The Crown) is to star in the new Sky original drama, Landscapers, the latest project from Sister for Sky and HBO after their multi-Emmy award-winning hit Chernobyl.
The four-part limited series will be directed by Academy Award winner Alexander Payne (The Descendants, About Schmidt, Sideways) and is written by Ed Sinclair in his first television screenplay.
Inspired by real events, the drama explores the lives of convicted killers Susan (Colman) and Christopher Edwards (casting tbc) and asks how this devoted and mild-mannered couple came to kill Susan’s parents and bury them in the back garden of their Mansfield home, in a crime that remained undiscovered for over a decade. This blackly comic, narratively playful true crime drama is based on extensive research, hours of interviews and direct access to the accused, who have always protested their innocence of murder.
Pivoting through various perspectives from Susan and Chris, to the police officers and lawyers involved in the investigation, the drama also draws the audience into the surreal fantasy world that Susan and Christopher created by casting themselves as their Hollywood heroes in stories of their own invention. This is the story of a unique murder case involving four lives lived on the margins of society, that turns into an exhilarating and darkly funny exploration of love and fantasy: its power and its peril.
Landscapers is produced by Sister, the award-winning producers of Chernobyl, in association with South of the River Pictures, the new production company from Olivia Colman and Ed Sinclair, for Sky and HBO.
The series will start filming in 2020 and will air on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK and on Sky in Germany, Italy, Spain and Ireland. International sales for Landscapers will be handled by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.
Olivia Colman, Actress and Executive Producer for South of the River Pictures said: “I love Ed’s scripts, which is just as well as he cooks many of my meals. No, the truth is it’s quite rare to be desperate to play a part on the first reading of a script, but that was the case here. The writing is brave, but subtle and tender too – a joy for any actor.”
Cameron Roach, Director of Drama, Sky Studios comments: “Ed’s scripts are a riveting and sensitive exploration of what could drive such an ordinary couple to commit murder and I’m delighted that Olivia Colman will bring Susan to life in what promises to be a compelling series. And after the success of the multi award-winning Chernobyl, we’re pleased to be working with Sister on another original drama inspired by true events.”
Jane Featherstone, Co-Founder, Sister adds: “The intelligence and deeply imaginative breadth of first time screenwriter Ed Sinclair’s scripts sees a constant re-invention of the true crime genre and it’s a testament to his writing that we have assembled a hugely experienced team of world class creatives. Oscar winning Olivia Colman is an extraordinary actor whose ability to disappear into a role is second to none and I’m thrilled to be re-united with her on this project. And with the incredible Alexander Payne at the helm, we are lucky to have a director whose skill for dark humour and character will ensure that Landscapers constantly surprises audiences.”
Landscapers is the first original co-production from Sky and HBO since renewing their output deal last month, which extends the companies’ long-standing co-production partnership. It is also both broadcasters’ first new commission with Sister following their collaboration on the international hit Chernobyl which aired earlier this year, becoming Sky’s most successful original drama ever with over 4 million viewers and 10 Emmy Award wins.
The series was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content, Sky UK and Ireland, and Cameron Roach, Director of Drama, Sky Studios. Serena Thompson is the Executive Producer for Sky. Landscapers is produced by Sister in association with South of the River Pictures for Sky in association with HBO. The Executive Producers are Jane Featherstone (Chernobyl, The Split) and Chris Fry (Giri/Haji, Chernobyl) for Sister and Ed Sinclair and Olivia Colman for South of the River Pictures. Directed and Executive Produced by Alexander Payne, Landscapers is produced by Katie Carpenter (The Bisexual, Flowers).
Sky has recently committed to more than double its investment in original drama, comedy and documentary through Sky Studios, the commissioning and production arm of Sky. Sky Studios brings to screen unique stories from the very best talent in Europe and is the creative home of Sky’s award-winning and much-loved Sky originals.
Sky originals current roster includes Catherine The Great starring Helen Mirren; a second series of Jez Butterworth’s Britannia and a second series of Save Me starring Lennie James and Suranne Jones. 2019 has been a record year for Sky originals with Chernobyl winning 10 Emmy Awards making it the most awarded British series of the year. And away from the screen, Sky secured a record BAFTA haul with seven awards.