The series is an adaptation of Sarah Perry’s bestselling novel that won book of the year at the British Book Awards in 2016. It will follow a newly widowed woman, played by Knightley, who, having being released from an abusive marriage, relocates from Victorian London to a small village in the county of Essex. She is intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent has returned to the area.
Anna Symon (“Deep Water”) is the lead writer. In addition to Knightley, Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Patrick Walters, Iain Canning, and Emile Sherman will executive produce the show alongside Barnard and Symon. Andrea Cornwell will serve as producer.
“The Essex Serpent” will be produced for Apple TV Plus by See-Saw Films, and is commissioned for Apple out of the U.K. by Apple’s heads of Worldwide Video, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and creative director for Europe Worldwide Video, Jay Hunt.
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The series is the latest in Apple’s Original international dramas that also include “Suspicion,” “Slow Horses,” “Echo 3,” “Shantaram,” “Pachinko,” and “Masters of the Air.”
Knightley scored Oscar nominations for “The Imitation Game,” and “Pride & Prejudice.” She will next be seen in Camille Griffin’s “Silent Night.” She will soon begin production on limited series, “The Other Typist,” in which she also stars in and executive produces.
Knightley is represented by United Artists, CAA, Narrative and Sloane Offer.