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Landscapers: Olivia Colman’s new project is a true crime retelling of the Mansfield Murders

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The Oscar-winning actor is teaming up with her husband Ed Sinclair on a television series digging into the shocking lives of convicted killers Susan and Christopher Edwards.  

Olivia Colman has played a detective hunting down brutal murderers on television series including Broadchurch. Now, the Oscar-winning actor is taking on a new project, playing a real-life killer in a grisly true crime television series.

The Oscar-winning actor will be taking on the role of Susan Edwards who, along with husband Christopher Edwards, was convicted in 2014 of murdering Susan’s parents on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend in 1998 and burying their bodies in the garden of their Mansfield, Nottinghamshire home in graves dug by Christopher earlier that day.

For the next 15 years, Susan and Christopher kept up an elaborate charade that her parents’ were still alive, living off their money and spending tens of thousands of pounds on celebrity autographs and memorabilia. Finally, in 2013, the couple surrendered to UK Border Force authorities at the Eurostar terminal at Lille Europe. The following year, they were convicted of planning and carrying out the ruthless murder.

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The television series, called Landscapers, will be a four-episode original crime drama from Sky and HBO. The script has been penned by Ed Sinclair, Colman’s real-life husband, and will be produced by the team who made Chernobyl. Alexander Payne, the filmmaker behind Downsizing, will direct the series. The actor set to take on the role of Christopher in the series is yet to be announced.

Ed Sinclair and Olivia Colman at the 2019 Oscars.

Befitting any Colman project, the tone of the series has been described as “blackly comic” and a “narratively playful true crime drama”. Sinclair’s scripts are based on a wide network of researching, including interviews with both Susan and Christopher themselves, who maintain their innocence to this day.

One important thematic aspect of the series, a press release explained, would be the couple’s fascination with Hollywood and the fairy tale of showbusiness. (Susan and Christopher maxed out their credit cards buying Gary Cooper merchandise, and Susan once maintained an elaborate charade that Gerard Depardieu was writing letters to Christopher by forging them herself.)

“I love Ed’s scripts, which is just as well as he cooks many of my meals,” Colman joked in a statement. “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 set to film early next year. It will air on HBO in the US and Sky and NowTV in the UK at a later date. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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