STARZ TO CO-PRODUCE WITH BBC ON FOUR-PART TELEVISION ADAPTATION OF "HOWARDS END" FROM ACADEMY AWARD(R) NOMINATED SCREENWRITER AND PLAYWRIGHT KENNETH LONERGAN
Hettie Macdonald to Direct "Howards End" Adaptation Produced by Playground
in Association with City Entertainment and KippSter Entertainment
Hayley Atwell, Matthew Macfadyen and Tracey Ullman Join "Howards End" Cast
Beverly Hills, Calif. - February 15, 2017 -Starz, with the BBC, will co-produce the limited series "Howards End," based on the classic E.M. Forster novel. Academy Award(R)-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(R) including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The film also received six BAFTA(R) nominations including a win for Best Original Screenplay. Lonergan also wrote You Can Count On Me, which was nominated for an Academy Award(R) 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(R) 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."
Starz (www.starz.com), a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is a leading global media and entertainment company that provides premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television networks and produces and distributes content for worldwide audiences, including its investment in the STARZ PLAY Arabia OTT service. Starz is home to the flagship STARZ(R) brand with 24.3 million subscribers in the United States as of December 31, 2016, with the STARZ ENCORESM network at 31 million subscribers. Starz provides high-quality, entertaining premium subscription video programming with 17 premium pay TV channels and associated on-demand and online services, including the STARZ app. Sold through U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, telecommunications companies, and other online and digital platforms, Starz offers subscribers more than 5,000 distinct premium television episodes and feature films every year and up to 1,500 every month, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular movie and television programming.
Playground is a New York and London based television and theatre production company founded in 2012 by Emmy, BAFTA, Tony and Golden Globe award-winning producer Colin Callender. It is committed to producing smart, entertaining drama for the screen and the stage bringing together the finest US and UK talent from the worlds of theatre, film, and television.
Playground has produced over 50 hours of prime time television drama garnering 15 Emmy nominations, 20 BAFTA nominations, including 5 wins, and 12 Golden Globe nominations, including a Golden Globe win for Best Miniseries. Recent productions include the Emmy-nominated and BAFTA, Golden Globe and Peabody Award winning six-part miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall starring Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis and Claire Foy for the BBC and Masterpiece, RTS winning and Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated television adaptation of Ronald Harwood's The Dresser starring Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins and directed by Richard Eyre for the BBC and Starz, and The White Princess, the upcoming limited series for Starz drawn from the bestselling book by Philippa Gregory.
Playground's recent theatre productions on Broadway include: Nora Ephron's Tony-nominated Lucky Guy directed by George C. Wolfe starring Tom Hanks in his Broadway debut, Harvey Fierstein's Tony-nominated Casa Valentina directed by Joe Mantello, the Tony award-winning revival of musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Jez Butterworth's The River directed by Ian Rickson starring Hugh Jackman, and Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford's critically acclaimed groundbreaking production of Macbeth at The Park Avenue Armory in New York. Playground is currently represented on Broadway with the hit musical Dear Evan Hansen, and on the West End, in partnership with Sonia Friedman Productions is currently producing the critically acclaimed revival of Dreamgirls and the record-breaking West End hit play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
About City Entertainment
City Entertainment's Emmy and Golden Globe winning producing team of Joshua D. Maurer and Alixandre Witlin, whose film and television dramas have garnered over 32 Emmy and 7 Golden Globe nominations and awards, currently has over 50 hours of motion picture and television in active development, earning a reputation as one of Hollywood's foremost producers of historical and literary adaptations. Recent credits include: Amazon Prime's new drama series "The Last Tycoon", "Papillon" starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek for Red Granite, "Rosemary's Baby" for NBC, "Jodi Arias" for Lifetime, "Rubicon" for AMC, "Georgia O'Keeffe" for Lifetime, "The Hoax" for Miramax, "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself" for HBO, "The Pentagon Papers" for FX, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" for HBO, and "Dodson's Journey" for CBS.
About KippSter Entertainment
Founded in 2012, KippSter Entertainment was formed with an eye towards producing content based on best-selling literary material, non-fiction and history, as well as original material. The company currently has a slate of over a dozen projects in various stages. Currently in production is the episodic drama series THE LAST TYCOON for Amazon. Based on the last, unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the series stars Kelsey Grammer, Matt Bomer and Lily Collins and will premiere on Amazon Prime in summer 2017. KippSter also produced the NBC four hour mini-series ROSEMARY'S BABY based on Ira Levin's best-selling novel. The re-imagined take on Levin's novel starred Zoe Saldana and was directed by award-winning director Agnieszka Holland.