BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Academy Award-winning actresses Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o will star in the television adaptation of Baltimore author Laura Lippman’s Lady in the Lake, which is set to begin filming in Charm City next week, the author said Friday.

Tech giant Apple announced in March 2021 that it had given an order for the adaptation to be made for Apple TV, the company’s streaming platform. The series will be co-written and co-created by Alma Har’el and Dre Ryan. Portman and Nyong’o will also serve as executive producers on the series.

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Lippman’s New York Times bestselling book is inspired by the two real, unrelated disappearances of a white girl and a Black woman in 1960s Baltimore. Their disappearances are connected by the book’s protagonist Maddie Schwartz, who begins investigating.

“When I decided to write a novel set in the ’60s, I very much wanted to look at these two different deaths, and how differently they had been portrayed in media,” Lippman said in an NPR interview on the book.

The book is dedicated to the five Capital Gazette staffers who lost their lives in a mass shooting in 2018. Lippman told NPR that Rob Hiassen, an assistant editor who died in the shooting, was one of her best friends when they worked together at the Baltimore Sun.

Portman will play Schwartz, the housewife who reinvents herself as an investigative journalist. In her journey, Schwartz will collide with Cleo Sherwood (Nyong’o), a mother who juggles “many jobs and a passionate commitment to advancing Baltimore’s Black progressive agenda,” Apple said.

Lippman confirmed in a tweet filming will begin next week in Baltimore. It’s unclear where – or when – primary filming will take place. No further casting in the series has been announced.

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The series will mark Portman’s first foray into television. The star, known for her roles in Leon: The Professional, V For Vendetta, and Closer, took home the 2011 Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Black Swan. 

Nyong’o is known for her roles in Us and 12 Years a Slave. She isn’t a stranger to TV, voice-acting in Netflix’s Human Resources and starring in MTV’s Shuga. Nyong’o took home the 2014 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 12 Years a Slave.

Both actresses are also part of the massively popular franchise Star Wars and the Marvel cinematic universe. Nyong’o plays Wakandan warrior Nakia in Marvel’s Black Panther and voices Maz Katana in the latest Star Wars trilogy.

Portman played Anakin Skywalker’s love interest, Senator Padme Amidala, in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. She was Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, in two Thor films and is set to reprise her role as Foster – and apparently take on the mantle of Thor – in an upcoming sequel.

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CBS Baltimore Staff