April 4th, 2018   Author: admin   Howards End - Interviews

The British actress said the 117-year-old novel is relevant today, and got advice from Emma Thompson, who won an Oscar for the same role.

It might have been intimidating for British actress Hayley Atwell to sign on for the lead in Starz’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s literary classic “Howards End,” given the long shadow cast by Emma Thompson, who won a Best Actress Oscar for the 1992 Merchant-Ivory film version. But Atwell had some help from Thompson herself.

“Emma’s a friend of mine, and I’m very familiar with her performance in it,” Atwell says. “I e-mailed her to say, ‘They’re doing the impossible, they’re going to attempt to make this,’ and being Emma, incredibly generous and warm, she said ‘You’re about to work with a writer, E.M. Forster, who is one of literature’s first proper feminists. [The character] Margaret will change you — she’s an extraordinary person. You are she and she is you.’ She passed the baton in a way.”

Of the new miniseries, which debuts in the U.S. April 8, Atwell says, “The look of it is different, the energy is different.” For one thing, the novel was adapted for the small screen by Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester By the Sea”) and directed by British filmmaker Hettie MacDonald.

“It’s adapting in four hours as opposed to a 90-minute film, so there’s more of the book in it, and Kenny’s writing takes so much of the content of the text and the dialogue and lifts it, but puts it into a very fresh way that’s accessible and real, so that it feels relevant to today,” she adds.

The 117-year-old novel continues to enjoy a reputation as one of the greats the 20th century, and Atwell says she sees both the timeless qualities of the story and its appeal to contemporary audiences.

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April 4th, 2018   Author: admin   Howards End - Interviews

Alongside a set of exclusive portraits, the actress opens up about her role in the new miniseries based on the E. M. Forster classic.

Merchant Ivory immortalized E. M. Forster’s 1910 novel Howards End in a glorious, Oscar-winning film in 1992, and now, a new BBC/Starz miniseries is rebooting the timeless drama for a contemporary audience. The four-part adaptation follows three vastly different families—the intellectual Schlegel sisters, the capitalist Wilcoxes and the impoverished Basts—as they intertwine and clash at the dawn of the modern era.

The series, directed by Hettie MacDonald and written by Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea writer Kenneth Lonergan, centers on fiercely independent Margaret Schlegel (Hayley Atwell) and her idealistic sister Helen (Philippa Coulthard). As Margaret finds herself drawn into the inner circle of the wealthy, mysterious Wilcoxes, Helen devotes herself to a young working-class man desperate to improve himself, setting up the three families for a calamitous encounter when long-buried secrets and private prejudices come to light.

Alongside these gorgeous portraits, exclusive to BAZAAR.com, Atwell walks us through this fascinating cast of characters and why the women and relationships of Howards End should be the new normal in film and television.

Howards End premieres Sunday, April 8 on Starz.

1 Hayley Atwell as Margaret Schlegel

“Emma Thompson [who played Margaret in the 1992 film] told me she believes E. M. Forster is one of literature’s first proper feminists, in the sense that he gave [Margaret] her full mind,” says Atwell. “He gave her so many dimensions. She can be contradictory, and hypocritical, and self-aware but also completely naïve. She is passionate yet maternal. She is rational yet, at times, incredibly confused and overwhelmed. All of this is done with such elegance and emotional intelligence and clarity, which is like, ‘Wow, this is written by a guy?'”

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November 15th, 2017   Author: admin   Howards End - Interviews

Hayley Atwell plays Margaret Schlegel in BBC One’s new adaptation of Howards End. She talks corsets with Georgia Humphreys

It’s been nearly 25 years since Emma Thompson won an Oscar for the role of Margaret Schlegel in film Howards End. And now it’s Hayley Atwell’s turn to take on the pioneering character in a new, four-part BBC mini-series.

EM Forster’s 1910 novel follows three families in its exploration of turn-of-the-century England: the intellectual and idealistic Schlegels, the wealthy business-focused Wilcoxes and the working-class Basts.

But any pressure Atwell felt about starring in the TV adaptation of such a beloved story was quashed when the 35-year-old actress spoke to Thompson ahead of filming.

“She (Thompson) played my mum years ago and she is a mentor and a friend,” reveals Atwell (the pair worked together on the 2008 adaptation of Brideshead Revisited). “And she said, ‘Don’t watch the film. You are she and she is you; never do that, that’s just rule number one’.”

The period drama is certainly a change in direction for London-born Atwell, whose career has undeniably been shaped by action-adventure roles across the pond.

After first portraying Marvel’s Agent Peggy Carter in 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger, cinematic successes such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man followed.

With two seasons of leading the cast in Marvel TV series Agent Carter on ABC also under her belt, Atwell is known by fans the world over for her ass-kicking role.

But she seems to have settled in just fine to the rather juxtaposed, corset-wearing world of Howards End.

“One of the things Hettie (Macdonald, Howards End director) was saying at the beginning, which has been really helpful, is we don’t want to be in costumes that wear us,” discloses Atwell while on set in Harrow in London, where they’re filming an important concert scene.

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November 15th, 2017   Author: admin   Howards End - Interviews

Hayley Atwell believes many British period dramas are too “stiff” and says she is delighted that her character in Howards End is not another “damsel in distress”.

The actress, 35, also revealed she sought advice from Emma Thompson, who won an Oscar for playing the same role — Margaret Schlegel — in the 1992 film version.

Atwell stars with Australian newcomer Philippa Coulthard in the BBC’s new four-part take on E M Forster’s novel. She told the Standard: “I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. It’s clever, it’s nuanced, it’s mature, it’s sophisticated without being pretentious, it’s accessible, it’s warm, it’s witty.

“Yet we steered very clear and stayed well away from it being another stiff British period drama that felt up its own arse or felt in any kind of way impenetrable.

“We made the characters feel very real and the kind of people you’d run into in the modern day.”

Forster’s 1910 novel follows three families in England, including the half-German Schlegels. Atwell said: “The Schlegels are of the intellectual set but there are also contradictions, hypocrisies, self doubt as they make their way through the world with the tools they have. It’s a dream to be given a female character that is so nuanced.

“I feel like Margaret is rare because there are few characters like her, even in literature, as the centre of the piece. She has many facets to her character and she grows and changes throughout it instead of being someone who is linear, or being the downtrodden damsel in distress — the victim of something, which so many female roles are. She’s never a victim.”

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November 15th, 2017   Author: admin   Howards End - Interviews

Hayley Atwell may be best known for starring in superhero fare such as Agent Carter and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but in Starz and BBC One’s forthcoming adaptation of Howards End, she plays Margaret Schlegel, the chief protagonist of E.M Forster’s classic novel.

Atwell, speaking at the premiere of the four-part drama in London, said that she’d never read a script that had given her so much time to figure out the “many facets of her character”.

“My character starts off with self-doubt… she’s contradictory, contrary and hypocritical and curious and inquisitive, all of these characteristics that I see present in my life but I don’t necessarily see it as much on screen. So, for me, I wanted to tread carefully because I thought it was beautiful and nuanced and wasn’t earnest or sentimental,” she added.

That script, which was written by Manchester By The Sea writer/director Kenneth Lonergan, follows the story of two independent and unconventional sisters, and the men in their lives, as they seek love and meaning in an ever-changing world.

Lonergan said that he was drawn into the project because of the way that the Schlegel family, in 1907, was actively trying to assess what was happening with the class system in Britain. “You don’t often see that done in such an anthropological way. It’s very unusual territory to explore,” he said.

The last major adaptation of Howards End was done 25 years ago as a Merchant Ivory-produced feature film starring Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins and Vanessa Redgrave.

Lonergan said he was pleased to have had four hours to tell the story rather than 90-minutes. “I’ve tried to adapt novels for feature length films and most of the work is trying to figure out what to cut and how to allow the book to survive in a shorter format so having four hours to experiment is wonderful.”

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February 23rd, 2017   Author: admin   Alerts - Howards End

Starz has teamed with BBC to co-produce the limited series Howards End, based on the classic E.M. Forster novel with Oscar-nominated Manchester by the Sea screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan writing the TV adaptation. Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street) and Tracey Ullman (Tracey Ullman’s Show) have been tapped to star in the project, originally greenlighted by BBC One in December 2015. Hettie Macdonald (White Girl) will direct the four-part series that will air on BBC One in the UK and Starz in the U.S. Howards End will film in and around London.

Howards End explores the changing landscape of social and class divisions in turn-of-the-century England through the prism of three families: the intellectual and idealistic Schlegels, the wealthy Wilcoxes from the world of business and the working-class Basts. Playground is executive producing in association with City Entertainment and KippSter Entertainment.

Atwell will play Margaret Schlegel, Macfadyen will portray Henry Wilcox, and Ullman will play Aunt Juley Mund.

“Starz continues our commitment to bring quality drama to the screen with Howards End, and we’re delighted to once again work in partnership with the BBC and Colin Callender on this literary period piece,” said Carmi Zlotnik, President of Programming for Starz.

Callendar also is producing The Missing and The White Queen franchise for Starz — both back for second installments. He executive produces Howards End with City Entertainment’s Joshua D. Maurer (Papillon) and Alixandre Witlin (The Last Tycoon) and KippSter Entertainment’s David A. Stern (The Last Tycoon) as well as with Playground’s Sophie Gardiner (Eureka Street) and Scott Huff (The Missing) and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Laura Hastings-Smith (Hunger) is producing.

Said BBC executive producer Richer, “Kenneth Lonergan is one of our truly great contemporary voices, and his adaptation of this adored timeless classic will surprise and delight a whole new audience with its timely and relevant themes.” [Source]

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