EXCLUSIVE: Colin Callender is returning to his roots as a British TV producer. Callender’s Playground Entertainment, in association with City Entertainment and KippSter Entertainment, has acquired rights to the classic E.M. Forster novel Howards End to turn it into a miniseries for Britain’s BBC Two. Search is underway for a writer to pen the adaptation, which Callender will executive produce with Joshua D. Maurer, Alixandre Witlin and David A. Stern.
The novel was originally published in 1910 and explores social and class divisions in early 20th century England through the prism of three families: the wealthy Wilcoxes, the gentle and idealistic Schlegels and the lower-middle class Basts. The title refers to the address of the Wilcox family’s country home. Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her star-making turn as Margaret Schlegel in Merchant Ivory’s 1992 feature adaptation. The new take on the material will be the first time it’s adapted as a mini. The rights deal was negotiated by Jonathan Sissons of Peters Frasers Dunlop on behalf of the E.M. Forster Estate.
Callender started off as a long-form producer in his native Britain. One of the minis he produced, the 1982 The Life And Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby for Channel 4, an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, earned him an Emmy for best limited series. Callender eventually crossed the pond for a 20-year stint at HBO, including serving as president of HBO Films. He is now an independent producer through his Playground Entertainment, which recently signed a two-year deal with Starz. Callender executive produces two upcoming series, NBC’s Dracula and Starz’s The White Queen.