Claire Danes has signed on for the lead role in the upcoming Apple drama series “The Essex Serpent,” Variety has learned exclusively.
Danes takes over the role from Keira Knightley, whose exit from the project was reported back in October. The series is based on the book of the same name by Sarah Perry. It follows newly widowed Cora (Danes) who, having being released from an abusive marriage, relocates from Victorian London to the small village of Aldwinter in Essex, intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent has returned to the area.
Danes is one of the most celebrated actresses working today. She is a four-time Golden Globe winner and a three-time Emmy winner. Her Golden Globe wins were for “My So-Called Life,” “Homeland” twice, and for the HBO film “Temple Grandin.” Two of her Emmy wins were also for “Homeland,” while the third was for “Temple Grandin.” She is also an accomplished film actress, having starred in projects like “Romeo + Juliet” opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and “The Hours” with Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore.
She is repped by WME, Signpost, and Ziffren Brittenham.
“The Essex Serpent” will be directed by Clio Bernard with Anna Symon serving as head writer. Both will also executive produce along with Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Patrick Walters, Iain Canning, and Emile Sherman. Andrea Cornwell will serve as producer. See-Saw Films will produce for Apple. The series is commisioned 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.