The limited series adapts the murder-mystery novel by Laura Lippman.

By Nick Romano
March 10, 2021 at 02:34 PM EST
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Oscar winners Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong'o are teaming up for their first big TV roles, after Nyong'o's Americanah series fell apart at HBO Max.

Portman and Nyong'o will both star in a limited series adaptation of Lady in the Lake, the murder-mystery novel from author Laura Lippman. The show is being set up by Apple TV+.

Portman will portray Maddie Schwartz, a 1960s Baltimore housewife and mother who reinvents her life as an investigative journalist in light of an unsolved murder. Nyong'o joins as Cleo Sherwood, a hard-working woman juggling motherhood, multiple jobs, and a commitment to advancing Baltimore's Black progressive agenda.

Natalie Portman, Lupita Nyong'o
Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Alma Har'el, the filmmaker behind Honey Boy, directs and co-writes the series. She'll also executive produce with Portman, Nyong'o, and co-creator and co-writer Dre Ryan (a producer on The Man in the High Castle). Har'el, who won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance for Honey Boy in 2019, pens the pilot solo and co-writes the remaining episodes with Ryan.

Portman and Nyong'o have both acted for television before, but this marks their first leading roles on a major platform or network. Nyong'o was previously developing a series around author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, but scheduling delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic no longer made this an option for the actress. HBO Max then decided to drop the project. She's currently developing her children's book Sulwe as an animated movie for Netflix, and she'll appear in the action film The 355.

Following her performance in Lucy in the Sky, Portman is currently filming her role of Jane Foster who takes over the mantle of Thor in Marvel's upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder.

Lippman, Har'el's producing partner Christopher Leggett, Portman's producing partner Sophie Mas, Jean-Marc Vallée, Nathan Ross, and Julie Gardner will also executive produce Lady in the Lake.

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