Keira Knightley drops out of Apple TV+ series The Essex Serpent

Keira Knightley
Pirates of the Caribbean and Imitation Game star Keira Knightley was due to star in the show.
Photo: Tony Shek/Wikipedia CC

Keira Knightley has pulled out of Apple TV+ adaptation The Essex Serpent. The Pirates of the Caribbean star was set to play the lead role in an adaptation of Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel of the same name. Shooting would have started in around six weeks.

However, as a result of “family reasons,” involving coronavirus lockdown and childcare, Knightley will no longer star in the series.

“There wasn’t a comfortable scenario for Keira that could be put in place for an extended period of childcare required for the four-and-a-half-month production,” her representative told the Daily Mail.

Production is now on hold while a new actor is found to star. It is not clear whether Knightley, who would have been a producer on the show, will remain involved in that capacity.

The Essex Serpent

News of Knightley’s casting was announced back in August. The novel, set in 1893, is all about a widow who moves from London to a small village in the county of Essex after the breakdown of her marriage. There, she becomes interested in a local legend about a creature called the Essex Serpent. The novel was a big seller in the UK, where it sold upward of 200,000 copies.

It’s being produced for Apple by See-Saw Films, the production company behind Shame and the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech. See-Saw is also working for Apple on another show in the form of spy series Slow Horses, starring Gary Oldman.

Knightley’s departure isn’t the first challenge Apple has experienced this year when it comes to Apple TV+ production. Like much of Hollywood, it has had to content with the industry grinding to a halt due to the pandemic affecting filming. In the case of its flagship show, The Morning Show, screenwriters had to rewrite a large part of the second season to ensure it matched real world events.

Things now appear to be getting back to normal in some instances. However, as the UK enters a second lockdown it’s unlikely that this is the last headache Apple will experience.

Source: Daily Mail