Filming will begin this week in Baltimore for a new limited series, an adaptation of Laura Lippman’s 2019 bestseller “Lady in the Lake.”

Academy Award winners Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o are starring in the series, which is set in 1960s Baltimore and will be shown on Apple TV+, the subscription streaming service of Apple Inc.

Lippman, one of the executive producers of the series, announced the start of filming on Twitter last Friday:

“LADY IN THE LAKE. Set to begin filming next week—in Baltimore,” she tweeted. “With Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o.”

LADY IN THE LAKE. Set to begin filming next week — in Baltimore. With Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o.

— Laura Lippman (@LauraMLippman) April 22, 2022

Lippman’s announcement explains why the parking lot at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute has been filled with Haddad’s Inc. film trucks and trailers. Some of the vehicles are marked with the code name for the production: “Flamingo.”

Haddad’s Inc. film trucks and trailers are parked at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute for the filming of the adaptation of Laura Lippman’s “Lady in the Lake.” Photo by Ed Gunts.

Her book was inspired by the unrelated disappearances of two women, one black and one white, in 1960s Baltimore. The body of one of the missing women was found in the fountain in the lake at Druid Hill Park – the lake in the book’s title. The disappearances are linked by one of the book’s main characters, housewife-turned-crime reporter Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz, who starts investigating.

“When I decided to write a novel set in the 1960s, I very much wanted to look at these two different deaths, and how differently they had been portrayed in media,” Lippman said in an interview with Mary Louise Kelly on NPR’s All Things Considered.

A Baltimore-based author of more than 20 detective fiction novels, and a former Baltimore Sun reporter, Lippman dedicated her book to the five staffers who were killed in the 2018 mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in Annapolis.

This will be the first role in a television series for Portman, who won the Best Actress Oscar in 2011 for her role in “Black Swan” and will play Schwartz. Nyong’o, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2014 for her role in “12 Years A Slave,” plays Cleo Sherwood, the woman whose body was found in the lake, and whose ghost scolds Maddie for digging into her past.

The mysterious, real life death of Shirley Parker, a Black bartender and waitress, formed the basis for the character Cleo in Lippman’s novel.

The series is being directed by Alma Har’el and co-written by Har’el and Dre Ryan. Endeavor Content is the studio. Pat Moran Casting coordinated local casting.

On Twitter, the start of filming was hailed as good news for Baltimore as well as for Lippman.

“Huge news. So freakin’ excited for you – and for us,” one commenter replied to Lippman.

“Awesome news!” another wrote. “And filming in Baltimore – not Georgia or Canada.”

Avatar photo

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.