Claire Danes to replace Keira Knightley in ‘The Essex Serpent’

Claire Danes at the Washington Post Live Screening and Discussion of 'Homeland' Season 8 (Feb 7th, 2020).
Claire Danes at the 'Homeland' Season 8 screening hosted by the Washington Post on Feb 7, 2020. (Image credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

Claire Danes is set to replace Keira Knightley in the upcoming Apple TV+ show The Essex Serpent.

This comes from Variety, who first reported the news that Claire Danes had signed on as the lead role for the show. Keira Knightley departed the project back in October last year over concerns about finding childcare for the four-and-a-half-month production period during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. 

Claire Danes is best known for her role as Carrie Mathison in the Showtime drama series Homeland. For this role, she was nominated for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series’ at the Emmys no less than four times, winning in 2012 and 2013.  

Claire Danes is also known for her roles in HBO’s Temple Grandin, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and for her breakout role on the ABC teen drama series My So-Called Life, among many others. 

The Essex Serpent is based on Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel of the same name. The novel is set in London in the late 1800s and follows Cora Seaborne (Danes), a recent widow. Having escaped her controlling husband, Cora moves out of Victorian London to a small country village in Essex called Aldwinter.  

While there, she becomes interested in the local superstition about the mythical Essex Serpent, a large beast said to roam the Essex countryside which has claimed the lives of many people.

The Apple TV adaptation of Perry’s novel will be directed by Clio Bernard, with Anna Symon on board as head writer. We do not have a release date for The Essex Serpent just yet.

Apple TV is our number one streaming device in 2021 and Apple TV+ has a growing number of great exclusive shows like Tehran, For All Mankind, Ted Lasso and Servant. An Apple TV+ subscription costs just $5.99 a month, and there’s a 7-day free trial if you want to try before you buy.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin is a Staff Writer with, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.