EXCLUSIVE: The Portrait Of A Lady is inching closer to the small screen. I’m hearing that the TV adaptation of the Henry James novel, which Red Production Company and Number 9 Films announced they were developing close to a year ago, has now landed at the BBC. It’s not immediately clear if it’s eyed for a spot on BBC One or BBC Two.
When the project was announced last June, there was neither a broadcast partner nor a writer attached. In addition to landing at the Beeb for further development, my sources tell me that Secret Diary Of A Call Girl scribe Rebecca Lenkiewicz has also come on-board to pen the script for this adaptation.
While nothing is set in stone, I’m told this is unlikely to be a single film adaptation, with producers looking at a multi-part format in the form of an event drama; just as the BBC did last year with their big budget War & Peace adaptation. A representative of the BBC declined to confirm this story, in keeping with a policy not to comment on development.
The Portrait Of A Lady tells the story of Isabel Archer, who leaves America for Old World Europe, keen to experience all that life has to offer. She rejects a series of marriage proposals from eager but safe lovers for a life of independence, but when she inherits an unexpected fortune, she falls prey to two American ex-pat schemers and is lured into a marriage with unfortunate consequences. Nicola Shindler, Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley will executive produce. StudioCanal will handle global distribution.