Apple TV+ shares first look at long-awaited Natalie Portman limited series ‘Lady in the Lake’

On Wednesday, Apple TV+ announced the premiere date and shared a first-look photo from “Lady in the Lake,” a seven-episode limited drama series starring and executive produced by Academy Award winner Natalie Portman the streamer describes as “a feverish noir thriller and an unexpected tale of the price women pay for their dreams.”

The series is based on a 2019 novel by bestselling mystery author Laura Lippman. It’s set in late-1960s Baltimore and follows two women from different communities who become linked by a missing girl. 

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Portman plays Maddie Schwartz, a Jewish housewife seeking to shed a secret past and reinvent herself as an investigative journalist. Moses Ingram (Emmy nominee for “The Queen’s Gambit”) is Cleo Sherwood, a mother navigating the political underbelly of Black Baltimore while struggling to provide for her family. 

In Maddie’s timeline, Cleo is deceased, and Maddie becomes obsessed with untangling the strange circumstances of her death. Maddie’s investigation leads to grave danger for herself and both women’s families. 

The series is written and directed by Alma Har’el (“Honey Boy”), who produces with Christopher Leggett.

In addition to Portman and Ingram, the cast includes Y’lan Noel, Brett Gelman, Byron Bowers, Noah Jupe, Josiah Cross, Mikey Madison, and Pruitt Taylor Vince

Production on “Lady in the Lake” has faced some challenges. The series was announced in 2021 and started filming in April 2022. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o was originally set to play Cleo, but she left the show in May 2022. In August 2022, production briefly halted due to an alleged extortion attempt backed by threats of violence to allow the show to keep filming downtown, which was later determined to be exaggerated, and a “street vendor” who demanded compensation for the production’s impact on his business was arrested on drug charges. 

“Lady in the Lake” is Portman’s first TV series. In an interview with L’Officiel, she said that she was drawn to the story because her grandmother was from Baltimore and was around Maddie’s age when the show is set. “So there was a real imagination of what it was like to be a woman at that time in that kind of city,” Portman said. “And also the story of Jewish assimilation is interesting to me, and the question of what it’s like when oppressed people can become oppressors.” 

“Lady in the Lake” premieres July 19 on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes. New episodes will be released every Friday after that through August 23.

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