Number 9’s Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley will executive produce alongside Red’s Nicola Shindler (“The Five,” “Happy Valley”). StudioCanal will handle worldwide distribution.
James’ novel centers on Isabel Archer, a vivacious New World ingénue, 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 that will grant her desires, she falls prey to two American ex-pat schemers, the elegant Madame Merle and the charming but cruel and calculating Gilbert Osmond, and is lured into a marriage with unfortunate consequences.
Karlsen said: “We believe we share a sensibility with Nicola of being drawn towards material with complex and compelling female lead characters, which is one of the defining elements of ‘Portrait of a Lady.'”
Shindler added: “Having been originally published as a monthly serial, and addressing themes of personal freedom, betrayal and modernization, Henry James’ ‘Portrait of a Lady’ lends itself perfectly to the long-form storytelling that only TV can offer.”
Number 9’s “Carol,” an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt,” starred Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and picked up six Academy Awards nominations. Upcoming releases for Number 9 in 2016/17 include Jane Goldman’s adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s “The Limehouse Golem,” directed by Juan Carlos Medina, starring Olivia Cooke and Bill Nighy, and Gaby Chiappe’s adaptation of Lissa Evans’ “Their Finest Hour and a Half,” directed by Lone Scherfig, starring Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin.
Red’s recent credits include Sally Wainwright’s multi BAFTA award-winning and critically acclaimed “Happy Valley” and “Last Tango in Halifax,” Harlan Coben’s first original TV drama “The Five,” and Russell T. Davies trilogy “Cucumber,” “Banana” and “Tofu.”