Author Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel The Essex Serpent is a story about a fictional village descending into madness as more and more people become convinced that there’s a mythical beast lurking in the nearby waters. But The Essex Serpent also revolved around a complicated romance that Apple seems keen on exploring in its upcoming adaptation of the book — at least judging from the first trailer.
The Essex Serpent follows as Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) and her companion Martha (Hayley Squires) journey to the fictional village of Aldwinter in pursuit of Cora’s dream to become a paleontologist following the sudden death of her abusive husband. While local tales of a massive primordial serpent capable of causing earthquakes are cause for alarm for most in the village and have led to a kind of collective paranoia, they’re precisely what draw Cora deeper into the fabric of Aldwinter’s community. Cora’s passion and curiosity about the so-called “blackwater beast” is part of what makes her so fascinating to figures like reverend Will Ransome (Tom Hiddleston) and Dr. Luke Garrett (Frank Dillane). But the longer Cora spends in Aldwinter, the more it seems like her presence — along with the rumored beast’s — is having some sort of impact on the village that certainly seems otherworldly.
The Essex Serpent hits Apple TV Plus on May 13th.