Stephen Wooley and Elizabeth Karlsen’s Number 9 Films are teaming up with the StudioCanal-owned production banner RED a TV adaptation of Henry James’ seminal 1881 novel Portrait of A Lady. The project will be Number 9’s first foray into TV.
Karlsen and Woolley will exec produce alongside RED’s Nicola Shindler (Happy Valley) StudioCanal will handle worldwide distribution.
The story follows Isabel Archer, a vivacious New World ingénue, who leaves America for Old World Europe, keen to experience all that life has to offer. She rejects a series of marriage proposals from eager but safe lovers for a life of independence, but when she inherits an unexpected fortune that will grant her desires, she falls prey to two American ex-pat schemers, the elegant Madame Merle and the charming but cruel and calculating Gilbert Osmond and is lured into a marriage with unfortunate consequences.
“We have long been admirers of Nicola’s ground breaking work in television,” said Karlsen. “She has built an extraordinary company and creative team that we feel privileged to be collaborating with on our first outing into television. We believe we share a sensibility with Nicola of being drawn towards material with complex and compelling female lead characters, which is one of the defining elements of Portrait of A Lady.”
The book was previously adapted into a feature starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Jane Campion.