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What to Know About Natalie Portman’s ‘Lady in the Lake’ Show: From Book Details to Star-Studded Cast

What to Know About Natalie Portman's 'Lady in the Lake' Show: From Book Details to Star-Studded Cast
Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s upcoming series Lady in the Lake perfectly blends together history with mystery.

The seven-episode show, which takes place in 1960s Baltimore, is based on Laura Lippman‘s 2019 novel of the same name. According to the synopsis, Lady in the Lake is centered on the murder of a young Jewish girl and the disappearance of a Black woman, which inspires Natalie Portman‘s character Maddie to look into the potential connection between the cases.

Directed by Alma Har’el, Lady in the Lake filmed around notable Baltimore landmarks such as the George Peabody Library, Redwood Street, B’nai Israel Cemetery and Druid Lake.

“IT’S A WRAP on Lady in the Lake. A year of writing. 11 months of shooting in Baltimore aka Charm City. Hundreds of bodies working together,” Har’el wrote via Instagram in November 2022. “Some days are a dream and some we want to forget. We can whole-heartedly say we are not the same people we were before and we’re thankful for every soul who worked on this very challenging production.”

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The post continued: “From JM who brought us the book and is no longer with us to THE ONE AND ONLY @natalieportman who gave me the gift to direct in HEBREW for the first time, the writers, actors, producers and every department on set all the way to the background actors, the people of Baltimore who we will carry in our hearts… and a little lamb named HOPE. @_mosesingram you have been the joy and the blessing of our lives. Thank you for bringing Baltimore to Cleo and Cleo to Baltimore.”

Keep scrolling for everything to know about Lady in the Lake:

Who Stars on Apple TV+’s ‘Lady in the Lake’?

What to Know About Natalie Portman's 'Lady in the Lake' Show: From Book Details to Star-Studded Cast
Apple TV+

Portman was originally cast alongside Lupita Nyong’o for the starring roles but the latter dropped out of the miniseries and was later replaced by Moses Ingram. The show also cast Y’Lan Noel, Mikey Madison, Sean Ringgold, Noah Jupe, Brett Gelman, Byron Bowers and Mike Eppst. Selema Masekela, Dylan Arnold and Josiah Cross are featured on the show, as well.

What Is the Show About?

Set in the 1960s, Lady in the Lake is focused on investigative journalist Maddie (Portman) who left her life as a housewife to pursue a career in reporting after two suspicious crimes take place in Baltimore.

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When Will ‘Lady in the Lake’ Premiere on Apple TV+?

The first two episodes will start streaming on July 19, 2024. Apple TV+ will keep releasing new episodes one at a time each Friday until August 23, 2024.

Are the Events That Take Place in ‘Lady in the Lake’ Based on Real People?

What to Know About Natalie Portman's 'Lady in the Lake' Show: From Book Details to Star-Studded Cast
Apple TV+

Lippman’s book was based on two unsolved murders that took place in Baltimore. First the body of Shirley Lee Wigeon Parker (named Cleo in the book) was found in June 1969 in a fountain at the center of Druid Lake. Three months later, 11-year-old Esther Lebowitz (who is renamed to Tessie in the show) was killed in the basement of a local aquarium store and found days later in a wooded area.

What Details Did the ‘Lady in the Lake’ Trailer Give Away?

What to Know About Natalie Portman's 'Lady in the Lake' Show: From Book Details to Star-Studded Cast
Apple TV+

In June 2024, Apple TV+ released the first glimpse at the series which followed Maddie as she packed a suitcase and left her home. Meanwhile in a voiceover, Cleo reflected on how Maddie started to look into her disappearance.

“Your writing dreams ruined your life. Now, you wanted those same dreams to rewrite it. But why did you need to drag my dead body into it?” Cleo asked. “You wanted to tell everyone’s story but your own.”

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What Drew Natalie Portman to the Project?

“I think, the basis of just a woman wanting to be free. I think the theme is interesting to me. Another is just being a Jewish woman in Baltimore in the 1960s,” Portman told People in June 2024 about what “appealed” to her about the show. “My grandmother was from Baltimore, and so there was a lot of imagination for me about what that time was like. And then the other thing that was interesting to me was exploring how someone who’s oppressed can also be an oppressor. And I think Alma and I really both connected on those themes a lot.”

Could the Show Be Renewed for Another Season?

Lady in the Lake has been marketed as a miniseries due to the source material being limited to one book.

How Does Y’lan Noel’s Character Ferdie Fit Into the Show?

What to Know About Natalie Portman's 'Lady in the Lake' Show: From Book Details to Star-Studded Cast
Apple TV+

“Ferdie has to keep both the story lines in the air. He is a bridge because on one end he is very immersed in The Bottom, which is the place where they’re from,”  Noel exclusively told Us Weekly in June 2024. “His investment [in Cleo] definitely fuels his investment in terms of wanting to rise the ranks at work and also causes some obstacles later on in his relationship with Maddie.”

Noel recalled connecting with his character as soon as he was on set. “In terms of getting into character, it’s something about putting on that police uniform that really sort of brings you there. Looking at myself in the mirror as a cop — especially a Black cop in the 1960s — the level of that was very interesting,” he noted. “Just from walking around on set, you had people that were just talking to you very fluidly when you are in your character’s clothes. They are now talking to you a lot differently when you’re dressed in that cop uniform. So I used it and I was able to use it in a very resourceful way for Ferdie.”

The actor also opened up about working with Portman, adding, “The conversations with Natalie [about our characters], that in and of itself was like I had to pinch myself a few times. Because I’m such a fan of her work. I’ve been a fan of her work for a very, very long time. And immediately she was just extremely professional. So we spoke like actors do. She shows by example. She’s somebody who is a consummate professional, and I felt very comfortable being able to make these scenes sing with her as my partner.”

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