EXCLUSIVE: Independent producer Nevision has teamed with Ben Kingsley’s banner Lavender Pictures to co-develop new drama series Cousin Bazilio, based on the 1878 book by Portuguese novelist by Eca de Queiroz.

The story, billed as a tale of sexual fire and psychological truth set during one overheated summer in 19th century Lisbon, will be written for TV by McLevy writer David Ashton. It follows two women: Juliana, an embittered maid, and her employer Luisa, a beautiful but bored housewife whose volatile affair with her cousin, Bazilio, sets off a train of dramatic consequences.

Kingsley will star in the two-part miniseries as Counsellor, a father figure to Luisa.

Lavender Pictures, which is headed up by Kingsley and producer-actress Daniela Lavender, will co-produce the project with Nevision.

“There was something about this project that suggested that it was more than just frocks and bonnets,” said Nevision producer Neil Zeiger. “It’s a powerful story of two women and the jealousy and bitterness that takes over their world. It’s an erotic thriller and a very passionate, upfront and deeply emotional story.”

Nevision exec chairman James Cabourne added: “I am genuinely thrilled by the combination of world-class acting and writing talent on this project. Cousin Bazilio is a great story, and David’s adaptation promises to be as explosive as the novel.”