EXCLUSIVE: Production outfit EQ Media Group has will produce unscripted series Hopwood’s Castle, based on actor Hopwood DePree’s journey from Hollywood to northern England to rescue his dilapidated 600-year-old ancestral home.
DePree discovered his descendants in England lived in a castle, Hopwood Hall Estate, while browsing his family ancestry online. This revelation compelled him to move overseas to save the building from certain ruin, with it having been abandoned for decades. Since then, organizations including Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund have awarded funds to the project.
The actor initially toured a one-hour stand-up comedy show on the topic in 2019, culminating at the Edinburgh Fringe, before penning a novel on the subject which, as Deadline revealed, William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins USA, landed with a six-figure advance.
“When we heard Hopwood’s incredible story we immediately knew it would make an amazing ongoing television series. Part fairy tale, part historical adventure, part feel good fish-out-of-water story – it really has it all and we’re thrilled to be partnered with Hopwood on this premium unscripted story.” said Jesse Fawcett, President of EQ Media Group and Executive Producer of the series.
“I’m not known for being particularly handy and just navigating Home Depot is a bit overwhelming for me, so renovating a centuries-old estate with sixty rooms is pretty much entirely outside of my comfort zone. However, that said, when I first walked into Hopwood Hall I was so stunned by the beauty of the craftsmanship, the medieval wooden carvings, everything about the place,” added DePree. “While it may be a gigantic job and I may be the new American in town, I’m absolutely going to push myself to rise to the challenge and, with the help of the locals, save Hopwood Hall. Having the EQ team by my side to capture the ups and downs of my crazy journey is really incredible.”
EQ Media Group has offices in Los Angeles, Sydney, Vancouver, Auckland, and Dallas, and has made a wide range of TV docs and dramas. Jesse Fawcett, President and Executive Producer, and Kevin Joseph, Head of Development, will be execs on the Hopwood DePree project.
The deal was struck by agents Allison Warren and Jen Marshall from Aevitas Creative Management along with Jay Froberg from ROAR on behalf of Hopwood, with EQ’s Jesse Fawcett and Kevin Joseph.