The series will be co-written by Alma Har’el and Dre Ryan, with Har’el writing the pilot and directing. Endeavor Content is the studio. Both Har’el and Ryan will executive produce, as will Portman and Nyong’o. Har’el executive produces along with Christopher Leggett via Zusa, with Portman’s producing partner Sophie Mas also executive producing. Crazyrose’s Jean-Marc Vallée and Nathan Ross will also serve as executive producers, along with Julie Gardner for Bad Wolf America. Lipmman is an executive producer on the project too.
The limited series takes place in 1960s Baltimore, where an unsolved murder pushes housewife and mother Maddie Schwartz (Portman) to reinvent her life as an investigative journalist and sets her on a collision course with Cleo Sherwood (Nyong’o), a hard-working woman juggling motherhood, many jobs and a passionate commitment to advancing Baltimore’s Black progressive agenda.
Both Portman and Nyong’o are Academy Award winners — Portman for “Black Swan” in 2011 and Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave” in 2014.
“Lady in the Lake” will be Portman’s first regular television role. In addition to “Black Swan,” she received Academy Award nominations for her roles in the films “Closer” and “Jackie.” Her other notable feature roles include “Léon: The Professional,” the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, “V for Vendetta,” and “Annihilation.”
She is repped by CAA and attorney George Sheanshang.
Aside from “12 Years a Slave,” Nyong’o is known for her roles in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” Jordan Peele’s “Us,” and the new “Star Wars” trilogy. She previously appeared in the TV series “Shuga.” She has also been working on an adaptation of the book “Americanah” for some time in which she would star, though Variety exclusively reported in October that the project was not moving forward at HBO Max as originally planned after Nyong’o was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.
She is repped by CAA, Mainstay Entertainment, and Del Shaw Moonves.
Har’el’s most recent film, “Honey Boy,” won her the Sundance 2019 “Special Jury Directing Award for Craft & Vision,” received four Independent Spirit Awards nominations including best director, and made her the first woman to win the DGA Award for First-Time Feature Film. She is also the first woman in DGA Awards history to be nominated for both commercial directing and narrative directing. “Lady in the Lake” will be her first television project.
She is repped by WME, Range Media Partners, and Gang Tyre.
Ryan was most recently a writer and producer on Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle.” Her other credits include “The Exorcist,” “Colony,” and “The Messengers.” She is repped by WME and Gang Tyre.
Vallée and Ross previously executive produced the hit HBO series “Big Little Lies”, which won eight Emmys during its first season. They also worked on the HBO series “Sharp Objects,” which was nominated for eight Emmys. Their past feature work includes “Wild” and “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Crazyrose, Vallée and Ross are represented by David Weber at Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern. Lippman is repped by Vicky Bijur Literary Agency, Jackoway Tyerman. and WME. Bad Wolf America is repped by WME.