Apple TV Plus has given viewers a first peek at Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston in character on the set of their new period thriller series The Essex Serpent, based on the 2017 novel by Sarah Perry. The series will tell the story of Cora Seaborne, played by Danes, as she travels to Essex in search of the eponymous mythical sea monster.
Hiddleston co-stars as the Reverend William Ransome, with whom Cora forms a friendship despite an initial misunderstanding. When tragedy strikes and the titular serpent seemingly returns to Essex, Cora finds herself at the center of the locals’ superstition and suspicion. Keira Knightley was originally slated to play Cora but pulled out of the film due to family obligations. Danes signed on in February of last year.
The series will be directed by The Selfish Giant director Clio Barnard and written by BAFTA Award-nominated Anna Symon. Both women will serve as executive producers on the six-part miniseries alongside Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Patrick Walters, and The King’s Speech producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman. Suite Française producer Andrea Cornwell will be series producer. The cast features Clémence Poésy as Stella Ransome, Frank Dillane as Luke Garrett, and Hayley Squires as Martha.
The Essex Serpent is the first in a series of high production value efforts from Apple TV Plus. Following on its heels will be Slow Horses featuring Gary Oldman, with both productions helmed by See-Saw Films, the producers of Jane Campion’s Oscar-nominated The Power of the Dog.