Landscapers is produced by Chernobyl producer Sister and is the first television screenplay from Ed Sinclair, Colman’s husband. It is being co-produced by South of the River Pictures, the new production company established by Colman and Sinclair, as revealed by Deadline.
The four-part series is the latest co-production between WarnerMedia’s premium network HBO and Comcast-backed Sky following the success of the nuclear disaster drama Chernobyl, which won ten Emmys in September.
Directed by The Descendants and Sideways director Payne, the series is inspired by real events. It tells the story of killers Susan and Christopher Edwards. Colman will play Susan Edwards. The pair, a mild-mannered couple from Mansfield in the UK, killed Susan’s parents and buried them in their back garden. The crime remained undiscovered for over a decade. It is a blackly comic true-crime drama based on extensive research, hours of interviews and direct access to the accused, who have always protested their innocence of murder.
Patricia and William Wycherley were shot dead at their home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend in 1998. Susan and Christopher Edwards subsequently cleared out their bank accounts and spent the money on things including Hollywood memorabilia such as a letter autographed by Sergeant York star Gary Cooper.
Pivoting through various perspectives from Susan and Chris, to the police officers and lawyers involved in the investigation, the drama also explores how the pair cast themselves as Hollywood heroes in their own story.
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 as well as HBO in the U.S. International sales for Landscapers will be handled by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.
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, while Jane Featherstone and Chris Fry will exec produce for Sister alongside Ed Sinclair and Olivia Colman and Alexander Payne. Katie Carpenter produces.
Colman 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.”
Sister co-founder Jane Featherstone said, “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.”
Sky’s Cameron Roach added, “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.”