The Crown and The Favourite performer will lead the Sideways helmer’s new limited black comedy series for the premium subscription network, which dramatizes the real-life story of British killers Susan (Colman) and Christopher Edwards.
Described as mild-mannered lovers from Mansfield, U.K., the couple killed Susan’s parents in 1998 and buried them in their backyard garden. The crime went unnoticed for over a decade, with the pair siphoning money from the deceased’s bank accounts and forging letters, holiday cards, and other documents allegedly from the dead couple before fleeing to France when they feared they could no longer maintain the illusion. The Edwards eventually turned themselves into police and were later found guilty of murder some 16 years after the original crime. They reportedly went broke spending all of their victims’ money on Hollywood memorabilia, including several signed mementos from movie star Gary Cooper.
Deadline first reported news of Colman’s casting in the project, which is produced by Chernobyl‘s Sister and marks the first TV screenplay from Colman’s husband, Ed Sinclair. Payne will direct Sinclair’s scripts, based on extensive research, interviews, and direct access to the Edwards pair, who’ve maintained their innocence over the years. Colman and Sinclair’s newly established production company South of the River Pictures will also co-produce the four-part limited event, made in collaboration with HBO and Sky following their successful partnership that led to Chernobyl‘s 10 Emmy wins in September.
“I love Ed’s scripts, which is just as well as he cooks many of my meals,” Colman said of the project in a statement to Deadline. “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.”
Landscapers is expected to begin filming in 2020. An exact HBO air date has yet to be announced.