Los Angeles Times

Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan goes back in time with Starz's 'Howards End'

Kenneth Lonergan is not the first name that comes to mind when you think "stately period piece."

In a 25-year career as a screenwriter, director and dramatist, Lonergan has gravitated to contemporary tales of tragedy and alienation, often revolving around well-meaning, self-sabotaging screw-ups. He clinched this reputation last year with a screenwriting Oscar for "Manchester by the Sea," his wrenching portrait of an emotionally arrested Massachusetts janitor moving on - if not exactly recovering - from nearly unimaginable personal loss.

He also hasn't worked in television since penning two episodes of the Nickelodeon animated series "Doug" in the early 1990s, and he had never previously adapted a novel.

All of which made him an unlikely choice to adapt "Howards End," E.M. Forster's 1910 novel about the intersecting fortunes of three families in Edwardian London, into a miniseries that premiered Sunday on Starz.

Even Lonergan was unsure

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