English actress Jenna Coleman (Victoria, Doctor Who) will be taking on a new role as a serial killer’s accomplice in the upcoming crime drama, The Serpent. Coleman is leaving her role as a young queen in the ITV series Victoria to star in the new limited series co-produced by Netflix and BBC One.
The eight-part series follows the true story of French serial murderer Charles Sobhraj, infamously referred to as the ‘Bikini Killer’. Sobhraj was a chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal during the 1970s. Coleman is cast in the role of Marie-Andrée Leclerc, Sobhraj’s partner and frequent accomplice, according to a BBC press release.
Coleman expressed how the series, written by Richard Warlow (Ripper Street) and Toby Finlay (Dorian Grey), immediately captured her attention, in an interview with the BBC. “The Serpent intoxicated me into the dark seductive world of Charles Sobhraj,” she said. “I’m so looking forward to delving into the hippie trail depths and bringing to life this unfathomable real life story alongside Tahar, Billy, Ellie, Tom, Richard and the wonderful cast and production team for the BBC and Netflix.”
Coleman is joined by Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Past) who plays Sobhraj, Billy Howie (Dunkirk) and Ellie Bamber (Les Misérables) who take on the roles of Herman and Angela Knippenberg – a couple that unwittingly gets involved with Sobhraj’s crimes and tries to bring him to justice.
Rahim seemed just as captivated by the story as Coleman when he was offered the role. “I am thrilled to play Charles Sobhraj in The Serpent, a role I have dreamed of portraying since I read a book about him when I was seventeen years old,” he told the BBC.
The series is produced by ITV-owned indie Mammoth Screen and directed by Tom Shankland (The Children, House of Cards) and Hans Herbots (The Treatment, Black). The series will be launched by the BBC in the U.K, Netflix in the U.S and the rest of the world. The show is currently being filmed in Thailand, according to Variety.