Starz, with the BBC, will co-produce the limited series “Howards End,” based on the classic E.M. Forster novel. Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter and playwright Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea, Gangs of New York, You Can Count on Me) brings the beloved novel from the page to the screen in his first television adaptation. Hettie Macdonald (“White Girl”) will direct the four hour-long episodes that will air on BBC One in the UK and STARZ in the U.S.
Executive produced by Playground in association with City Entertainment and KippSter Entertainment, this four-part limited series explores the changing landscape of social and class divisions in turn of the century England through the prism of three families: the intellectual and idealistic Schlegels, the wealthy Wilcoxes from the world of business, and the working class Basts.
“Starz continues our commitment to bring quality drama to the screen with ‘Howards End’ and we’re delighted to once again work in partnership with the BBC and Colin Callender on this literary period piece,” said Carmi Zlotnik, President of Programming for Starz.
Lucy Richer, BBC Executive Producer, says, “Kenneth Lonergan is one of our truly great contemporary voices, and his adaptation of this adored timeless classic will surprise and delight a whole new audience with its timely and relevant themes.”
Hayley Atwell (“Agent Carter,” Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron) will portray Margaret Schlegel and Matthew Macfadyen (“Ripper Street,” “The Last Kingdom,” “MI-5”) will portray Henry Wilcox in the adaptation. Tracey Ullman (“Tracey Ullman’s Show,” Into the Woods, “Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union” and “The Tracey Ullman Show”) will play Aunt Juley Mund.
Playground’s Colin Callender (“Wolf Hall”), City Entertainment’s Joshua D. Maurer (Papillon) and Alixandre Witlin (“The Last Tycoon”), and KippSter Entertainment’s David A. Stern (“The Last Tycoon”) will executive produce along with Playground’s Sophie Gardiner (“Eureka Street”) and Scott Huff (“The Missing”) and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Laura Hastings-Smith (Hunger) is producing.
Kenneth Lonergan is a playwright, screenwriter and director. He wrote and directed the acclaimed film Margaret and this year’s Manchester by the Sea, which was nominated for six Academy Awards® including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The film also received six BAFTA® nominations including a win for Best Original Screenplay. Lonergan also wrote You Can Count On Me, which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Screenplay. It won the Sundance 2000 Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, the NY Film Critics Circle, among many other awards. He co-wrote the film Gangs of New York which garnered a WGA and Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Hettie Macdonald is an award-winning theatre, film and television British director best known for her BAFTA Award-winning television film “White Girl” and her award-winning film, Beautiful Thing. Macdonald directed the “Doctor Who” episode titled “Blink,” which won the 2007 Hugo Award and is still today regarded as the finest episode of the modern revival of the “Doctor Who” series. Macdonald also directed several episodes of “Fortitude.”
“Howards End” will film in and around London. Starz retains all US multiplatform pay TV rights as well as worldwide multiplatform distribution rights to “Howards End.” BBC retains UK television rights. Rights to use the original novel as source material for the limited series were acquired from Jonathan Sissons at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop, on behalf of the Forster Estate. Senior Vice President of Original Programming Karen Bailey serves as the Starz executive in charge of “Howards End.”