Claire Danes replaces Keira Knightley in Apple TV+’s The Essex Serpent


‘The Essex Serpent’ adapted for Apple TV+ starring Claire Danes
The Essex Serpent is coming to Apple TV+ in an adaptation starring Claire Danes.
Image: Serpent's Tail/Profile Books

Claire Danes will reportedly star in The Essex Serpent, a drama series about a 19th century widow who goes monster hunting. The show will be based on a popular novel.

Previously Keira Knightley was going to take the lead, but she bowed out of the project over COVID-related scheduling problems.

In the midst of a pandemic, Knightley couldn’t get childcare for the 4.5 months of filming. So she pulled out. Danes is taking over, according to Variety.

Claire Danes got her start on My So-Called Life back in the 1990s, and has since gone on to win three Primetime Emmys, four Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Go hunting The Essex Serpent

The Apple TV+ drama series is based on The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. The novel, set in 1893, is all about a widow who moves from London to a small village in the county of Essex after the breakdown of her marriage. There, she becomes interested in a local legend about a creature called the Essex Serpent. The book was a big seller in the UK, where it sold upward of 200,000 copies.

It’s being produced for Apple by See-Saw Films, the production company behind Shame and the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech. See-Saw is also working for Apple on another show: the spy series Slow Horses, starring Gary Oldman.

With production not yet begun, it’s not known when the Apple TV+ version of The Essex Serpent will premier. And while this is reportedly a series and not a movie, the number of episodes is also a mystery.

Luke Dormehl contributed to this article.


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