Landscapers tells the remarkable true story of one of the strangest crimes in British history.
The four-part series, which airs in December on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK, sees that of the crown Olivia Colman as Susan Edwards, who, in 2014, along with her husband Christopher, played by Harry potter star David Thewlis, was convicted of the 1998 murder of his parents William and Patricia Wycherley.
The Wycherleys’ bodies were found buried in the back garden of their home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in 2013, after going undiscovered for 15 years. But the drama, created and written by Colman’s husband, Ed Sinclair, begins in France. After stealing the Wycherleys’ money and forging documents to pretend their victims were still alive, Susan and Christopher crossed the Channel to start a new life. But, as their crime eventually catches up with them and their lives fall apart, fantasy footage shows the unpretentious couple seeking refuge in their love affair from the golden age of cinema.
Here, Olivia Colman explains why she was attracted to Landscapers…
‘Paysagistes’ is an extraordinary story. What was the attraction for you?
âI like a mix of something funny and something sad. And I know the writer well! There was an article on the case in the newspaper and Ed was sucked into this world and found it fascinating. He wrote to Susan and Christopher and told them he wanted to tell their story. And then I read the scripts and loved them. It was a real dream. ”
Why did the case intrigue you so much?
“You think, ‘How the hell did they get away with this for so long? Why weren’t these people missed? They had covered their tracks pretty well, but I guess they never got to feel really happy or relaxed in those 15 years. It’s a horrible way to live your life.
Susan and Christopher are still in prison to this day. How do you see them?
âI think they are lovely people who have found themselves in an extraordinary situation. They are dedicated to each other and support each other when this horrible thing happened. No one will ever really know what happened, but extraordinary circumstances led them down a very strange path they had never imagined. I cannot imagine a situation where I would take the life of anyone. But I’m sure they couldn’t imagine it either. You never know what humans are capable of when pushed.
What do you think of their obsession with old movies?
âFor all of us, the cinema is a form of escape. And for Susan in particular, it was really huge for her to be able to have male heroes, because she didn’t have that when she was a child. Christopher became her hero, just like all those male movie stars she really loved.
Was there any research you could do?
âI have never seen any videos of Susan, but I have met her lawyer. He is the most amazing man and dedicated to his job and helping people. He’s probably the only person who stays in touch with Susan – he even sends her a Christmas present. He said, ‘She looks like you, Olivia.’ And I said, ‘It’s convenient, I’m going to stick with that!’ ”
Did you enjoy working with David Thewlis?
âWe had a great time, he’s one of the nicest people in the world. We had never worked together before, but we hit it off right away.
What did the fantastic sequences to film look like?
âWe filmed a scene where we were cowboys and we had a lot of fun. We sat on a real horse but the scene cut to the double gallop body because David and I both have a healthy respect for animals that might change their mind! We also had a scene in a horse drawn carriage going down a hill, and we had someone hidden behind us holding the reins. It was terrifying, but fun.
Where can I watch âPaysagistesâ?
It will air from Monday, December 6 on HBO in the United States and will be available to stream on HBO Max.
The series begins in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Tuesday, December 7 at 9 p.m. and all four episodes will then be available on Sky Box Sets and Now TV.