EXCLUSIVE: Disney+ is ready to give the greenlight to an adaptation of CJ Sansom’s bestselling Shardlake novels, depicting an unlikely detective working under Henry VIII’s reign.

The streaming service will bolster its UK originals slate with the series, which will be made by The Forge, the All3Media-backed production company behind Starz’s Becoming Elizabeth.

Disney and The Forge have lined up Justin Chadwick to direct the Shardlake series. Chadwick was the lead director on Becoming Elizabeth and has form when it comes to Tudor storytelling, having directed The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Eric Bana, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.

Working titled Shardlake, the series will shoot in the UK this year and sources said it could comprise four episodes. Should it be successful, there is plenty of material for The Forge to mine, with Sansom having written seven novels in the Shardlake series.

The first book, Dissolution, introduces readers Dr Matthew Shardlake, a hunchback lawyer-turned-detective in Tudor England. He is sent by Thomas Cromwell, the ultimate Tudor powerbroker, to investigate the beheading of Robin Singleton, a commissioner responsible for disbanding monasteries after Henry VIII declared himself supreme head of the Church of England.

The BBC explored adapting the Shardlake novels for television in 2007 and even cast Sir Kenneth Branagh to play the disabled detective. The project never made it to air, however, and Branagh eventually signed up to star in Wallander for the BBC.

More than 15 years on and Disney+ will be looking for its own Shardlake as it hopes to bring the popular character to the screen for the first time. The books have been dramatised for radio by the BBC, with Jason Watkins (The Crown) and Justin Salinger (Alex Rider) both playing Shardlake.

Disney+ UK scripted originals include Wedding Season, a wedding murder drama, and the upcoming Extraordinary, about a woman who lives in a world where everyone has a superpower except her.


Source link