TV and film might be returning to production, but, as in every industry, many logistical decisions related to personal safety often fall to the individual. On Monday, Variety confirmed that Keira Knightley has dropped out of Apple TV+’s upcoming series The Essex Serpent, based on author Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel, for “family reasons,” specifically concerns over how to take care of her two children with husband James Righton during a four-month shoot amid the continuing coronavirus crisis.
“Keira had to unfortunately pull out of The Essex Serpent due to family reasons,” her representative also told People in a statement. “As the COVID cases increase in the U.K. and additional lockdown and restriction rules are potentially being imposed, with so many unknowns, there wasn’t a comfortable scenario for Keira that could be put in place for an extended period of child care required for the 4.5-month production.” As in the U.K., COVID-19 cases are also on the rise in the United States.
In addition to executive producing, Knightley had been cast as the series’ lead, a widowed Victorian woman who relocates to the town of Essex, where a legendary beast called the Essex Serpent has allegedly returned.