Oscar winners Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o are set to star in Apple‘s limited series Lady in the Lake, which is based on the book by Laura Lippman.
Set in the ’60s, the story takes place in 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, multiple jobs and a passionate commitment to advancing Baltimore’s Black progressive agenda.
Honey Boy helmer Alma Har’el will direct Lady in the Lake and write the pilot, and she’ll also co-write the rest of the episodes with The Man in the High Castle scribe Dre Ryan, with whom she co-created the show. The series hails from Endeavor Content, Bad Wolf America and Jean-Marc Vallée‘s company Crazyrose.
That last element is important, as Vallée was involved with HBO‘s hit limited series Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects and directed the acclaimed films Dallas Buyers Club and Wild as well as one of my personal favorites, Demolition. He’s one of the more underrated artists out there and he does not get involved with projects lightly, and frankly, neither do Portman or Nyong’o.
Both of these actresses are fairly exacting about the projects they pick. As someone who has been writing about this industry for a long time, I can say that neither is among the A-list stars who seem to over-attach themselves to projects, dropping one trade announcement after the next. Their involvement alone indicates that Lady in the Lake will be one to watch.
In fact, the show will mark Portman‘s first lead role in a series, as well as the first major TV role for Nyong’o and the first small screen project for Har’el as well. The director won a DGA Award for her feature film Honey Boy, which was released by Amazon, and you have to wonder why that streamer didn’t offer Har’el the same opportunity, or why Har’el didn’t bring this project there first. Instead, Apple leaped at the opportunity and has now added two major stars and a talented director to its streaming galaxy.
Portman, Nyong’o, Har’el, Ryan, Lippman and Vallée will executive produce the limited series with Christopher Leggett, who is Har’el’s producing partner at her new company Zusa, as well as Portman’s producing partner Sophie Mas, Vallée‘s producing partner Nathan Ross, and Julie Gardner of Bad Wolf America.
Nyong’o, who is coming off a bravura turn in Jordan Peele‘s Us, will soon be seen alongside Jessica Chastain in Simon Kinberg‘s spy movie The 355. Portman is currently filming Taika Waititi‘s superhero sequel Thor: Love and Thunder, in which her Jane Foster is expected to play a big role.