Claire Danes has been cast as the lead role in the screen adaptation of The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (Serpent's Tail).
According to Variety, she takes over the role from Keira Knightley, who exited the project in October.
Set in 1893, the series revolves around the newly widowed Cora (to be played by Danes), who relocates to Essex, drawn by the local superstition of a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent.
Serpent’s Tail published the novel in 2016, and is set to release a tie-in edition to coincide with the TV/streaming launch. The book has sold 359,747 copies for £3.3m across all editions, according to Nielsen Bookscan's UK Total Consumer Market.
The Essex Serpent was the British Book Awards' Book of the Year in 2017 and the Waterstones Book of the Year in 2016, and was nominated for the Wellcome, Costa, Walter Scott and Women’s Prize, among others, with rights sold in 22 languages.
The drama series will be directed by Clio Bernard with Anna Symon 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, while See-Saw Films will produce for Apple. The series is commisioned for the UK by Apple’s heads of global video, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and Jay Hunt, creative director for Europe worldwide video.