Director Alexander Payne previously exited the four-episode project, with Will Sharpe taking over.

By Joey Nolfi
March 23, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
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HBO has accio'd Harry Potter star David Thewlis for its long-gestating Olivia Colman limited series Landscapers.

"This is without doubt the very finest project I have worked on for many years," Thewlis said in a press statement. "Everything about Landscapers is magical, there is nothing like it and I'm impatient to get to work so that its brilliance can be shared with the rest of the world."

Inspired by true events, Landscapers follows mild-mannered husband and wife Susan (Colman) and Christopher (Thewlis) Edwards, amid their 15-year evasion of a heinous crime.

Popular for his portrayal of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter movie franchise, Thewlis' acting credits include Justice League, Wonder Woman, Charlie Kaufman's I'm Thinking of Ending Things, and FX's Fargo.

David Thewlis; Olivia Colman
David Thewlis and Olivia Colman play a murderous couple on the run on HBO's "Landscapers."
| Credit: Murray Close/Warner Bros.; David M. Benett/Getty Images

Thewlis joins the project months after Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne exited the four-episode program in October due to a scheduling conflict, according to Variety, though the Election helmer's departure also came in the wake of actress Rose McGowan's sexual misconduct allegations against him, which he has denied.

Will Sharpe (Louis Wain, Flowers) replaced Payne and will direct all the episodes.

"We cannot wait to unearth for you the bizarre shape-shifting truths that lie buried in the unsettling yet deeply romantic world of Landscapers," Sharpe said in a statement.

The network's description touts the series as being inspired by Susan's obsession with old Westerns and classic Hollywood cinema, as the fantastically minded couple sees themselves as traditional movie heroes in a sprawling narrative of their own making. The series will shift between their perspectives, telling a "visually bold and unique" story immersed in their "fantasy world" punctuated my multiple truths.

The real-life Mansfield, U.K. couple killed Susan's parents in 1998, and buried them in their backyard garden. The crime went unnoticed for over a decade, and the pair kept up the illusion by 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. The Edwards ultimately turned themselves in, and were found guilty of murder roughly 16 years after the original crime, eventually having gone broke when they spent all of their victims' earnings on Hollywood memorabilia, including signed mementos from movie star Gary Cooper.

Chernobyl's Jane Featherstone and Giri/Haji's Chris Fry will produce for SISTER, with Ed Sinclair and Colman producing for South of the River Pictures. Actors Kate O'Flynn (Happy-Go-Lucky), Dipo Ola (We Hunt Together), Samuel Anderson (The History Boys), Karl Johnson (Hot Fuzz), Felicity Montagu (I'm Alan Partridge), and Daniel Rigby (Eric and Ernie) have also joined the cast.

A release date for Landscapers — an HBO and Sky Studios project — has yet to be announced.

Hear more on all of today's must-see picks, plus what The Resident's Morris Chestnut is watching, in EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.

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