Tom Hiddleston has been cast as the male lead opposite Claire Danes in the Apple TV+ drama series The Essex Serpent, an adaptation of Sarah Perry's bestselling romantic novel. The miniseries is written by Anna Symon and will be directed by Clio Barnard. The Essex Serpent is a quasi-gothic romance about newly widowed Cora (Claire Danes) who, freed from an abusive marriage by the death of her awful husband, moves from Victorian London to the small village of Aldwinter in Essex. There she explores amateur paleontology and is intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent has returned to the area.
Hiddleston will play Will Ransome, the local reverend and trusted leader of the small rural community. Ransome and his family befriend Cora, but he has a tempestuous relationship with her over his faith and skepticism regarding the existence of the Essex Serpent. Of course, they develop sexual tension and sparks aplenty with their many arguments and misunderstandings. The search for proof of whether the Essex Serpent is real forms the framework for Cora and Ransome's relationship, including their increasing romantic entanglement when Cora finds herself caught between married father and religious leader Ransome and another man from Cora's life. Expect lots of smoldering from Tom Hiddleston and lots of frantic emoting from Claire Danes. The novel is worth reading if you haven't done it already.
Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Patrick Walters, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman are executive producers with Barnard and Symon. Andrea Cornwell will serve as producer. The series is produced by See-Saw Films. Keira Knightley was previously cast as Cora but had to drop out due to difficulties arranging childcare during the Pandemic. This will be Hiddleston's third television series following The Night Manager, which was rumored to be his audition for James Bond, and the Loki series for Marvel Studios and Disney+.