Will Sharpe will replace Payne in the director’s chair. “Landscapers” is being produced by Sister, which previously collaborated with Sharpe on last year’s Netflix-BBC series “Giri/Haji.”
According to a spokesperson for Payne, he is leaving “Landscapers” due to a scheduling conflict. Sources say the conflict arose from the show’s production being shifted to early next year due to COVID-19.
“Alexander Payne has regretfully chosen to withdraw from ‘Landscapers’ in order to direct a 2021 original feature project of his own that has seasonal filming requirements,” the spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Variety.
News of his departure from the project comes less than two months after Rose McGowan accused the director of raping her when she was 15 years old. Payne denied McGowan’s allegations calling them “simply untrue” and saying that he had “cordial interactions” with her in a guest column for Deadline. When asked for comment on the column, McGowan replied to Variety “F— him and his lies is my comment.”
“I told Payne to acknowledge and apologize, he has not. I said I didn’t want to destroy, now I do. Why do these men always lie? I will now make it a mission to expose him. I am not the only one,” McGowan added in her comment.
Inspired by real events, “Landscapers” explores the lives of convicted killers Susan (Colman) and Christopher Edwards and asks how this devoted and mild-mannered couple came to kill Susan’s parents and bury them in the back garden of their Mansfield home in the U.K. Their crime remained undiscovered for over a decade.
The series is being produced by Sister and South of the River Pictures, Colman and her husband Ed Sinclair’s recently-launched production banner. HBO and Sky previously teamed with Sister to produce “Chernobyl.”
Deadline first reported his exit.