Claire Danes plays lead in mini-series ‘The Essex Serpent’

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Claire Danes who starred as the lead in the hit TV drama, ‘Homeland’ for eight seasons is now moving to a completely different genre. She will be essaying the role of a 19th century widow for the mini-series, ‘The Essex Serpent’.

The actress said that her first role after almost a decade of playing CIA operative Carrie Mathison in ‘Homeland’ was both “wonderful and scary”.

The 43-year-old actress has accumulated numerous awards for her character Carrie Mathison, an intrepid bi-polar operative in the TV series that aired from 2011 to 2020.

Meanwhile, ‘The Essex Serpent’ is set in the 19th century, and is based on the novel authored by Sarah Perry. In the series, Danes plays the role of Cora, a grieving widow who moves from London to Essex County to look into the talks circulating about a mythical serpent in the county.

She becomes friends with the local pastor, Will, played by Tom Hiddleston but is soon under fire from local residents who start blaming her for the tragedy that has befallen the town.

In an interview with Reuters, Danes spoke about her upcoming role and said, “It felt wonderful… I loved finally being able to play somebody who was in relationship with other human beings because Carrie really wasn’t.”

Speaking further about the series and her character, Danes added, “I kind of thought of her as like Edward Scissorhands, weirdly… she understood her volatility and she was very inclined to protect other people from that and so she isolated herself. Cora doesn’t have to; she was allowed to enjoy intimacy of varying kinds… That was fun but it was also kind of scary to be in uncharted territory.”

On the show, while the locals fear the mysterious serpent, Danes’ Cora feels intrigued and wants to learn more about it.

Danes said, “I think the serpent is a symbol for people’s anxiety, for all of the myriad unknowns that plague us and worry us. All of the characters are wrestling with quite a bit of internal tumult and this is a way for them to attempt to make sense of that and to fixate on something seemingly tangible and concrete.”

The crux of the story is the debate of science versus faith, with all the characters coming up with different reasons for the existence of the serpent.

Speaking about the show and the debate of science versus faith, Tom Hiddleston said, “I find it a very nourishing debate…the interconnectedness between faith and reason, science and religion. As a society and as communities, we need belief systems in order to make sense of our lives and to understand how our lives are meaningful.”

He further added, “And at this particular time… the end of the 19th century, there was so much change in terms of the way people understood their lives. And I think the conversation continues.”

‘The Essex Serpent’ premieres today, May 13, 2022, on Apple Tv +.

Watch the trailer here:

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