Five years after his turn in The Night Manager earned him a Golden Globe award and an Emmy nomination, Tom Hiddleston has signed on to star opposite Claire Danes in Apple‘s drama series The Essex Serpent, Collider has learned.
Based on the bestselling book by Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent follows Cora (Danes), a newly-widowed woman who relocates from Victorian London to the small village of Aldwinter in Essex, where she becomes intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent has returned to the area.
Hiddleston will co-star as Will Ransome, the trusted leader of the close-knit community, and you can see the first photo of him in character below.
Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant) will direct the series, which was written by Anna Symon (Deep Water), who adapted the novel. The two of them will also executive produce The Essex Serpent alongside Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Patrick Walters, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, while Andrea Cornwell will serve as a producer on the project.
Keira Knightley was originally set to star as Cora, but she dropped out of the show due to concerns related to the pandemic. The Oscar-winning production company See-Saw Films is now expected to start shooting the series later this year.
Danes and Hiddleston represent a formidable duo on the small screen, and The Essex Serpent is now positioned as one of the highest-profile series coming to Apple TV+. Others include Masters of the Air from executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks; the South American action-thriller Echo 3 from Mark Boal; the international spy thriller Slow Horses starring Gary Oldman; and the Uma Thurman thriller Suspicion, which is based on the award-winning Israeli series False Flag.
While Hiddleston burst onto the big screen a decade ago with his villainous turn opposite Chris Hemsworth in Marvel‘s Thor, the actor has been working in television for 20 years, and he’ll soon be seen in the Loki series that is slated to premiere in June on Disney+. Outside of the MCU, Hiddleston appeared in Kong: Skull Island, as well as the 2015 films Crimson Peak, High-Rise and I Saw the Light, in which he played country music icon Hank Williams. He’s represented by WME and Hamilton Hodell.