The trio join Tahar Rahim, who plays Charles Sobrhaj, one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century. Filming has begun in Thailand on the eight-part Mammoth Screen-produced series.
Coleman will play Marie-Andrée Leclerc, Sobhraj’s partner and frequent accomplice, with Howle and Bamber cast as Herman and Angela Knippenberg.
Charles Sobhraj (Rahim) was the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal’s ‘Hippie Trail’ in 1975 and 1976. Psychopath, con man, thief and master of disguise, having slipped repeatedly from the grasp of authorities worldwide, by 1976 serial killer Sobhraj was Interpol’s most wanted man and had arrest warrants on three different continents.
When Herman Knippenberg (Howle), a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walks into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, he sets off a chain of events that will see Knippenberg seek to bring Sobhraj to justice for his crimes.
The Serpent’s cast will also feature Alice Englert (Top of the Lake), Mathilde Warnier (The Widow), Gregoire Isvarine (The Inside Game), Sahajak Boonthanakit (Only God Forgives), Fabien Frankel (Last Christmas), Chicha Amatayakul (Girl From Nowhere), Surasak Chaiyaat (Love Destiny), Ruby Ashbourne-Serkis (National Treasure), Armand Rosbak (De Slet van 6 vwo), Ellie de Lange (Keizersvrouwen), Ilker Kaleli (Poyraz Karayel) and newcomer Amesh Edireweera.
Limited series The Serpent is written by Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay, directed by Tom Shankland and Hans Herbots and executive produced by Richard Warlow, Tom Shankland, Preethi Mavahalli and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, Lucy Richer for the BBC and will be handled by Carolyn Newman for Netflix.
Coleman said, “The Serpent intoxicated me into the dark seductive world of Charles Sobhraj. I’m so looking forward to delving into 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.”
Howle said, “When I heard about the story behind The Serpent, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. What an interesting role, in a fascinating story, with a brilliant team behind it – shooting in such a great part of the world, as well. I feel really fortunate to be a part of this project.”
Bamber added, “I’m so honoured to join forces with Billy, Jenna, Tahar and The Serpent’s incredibly accomplished cast and production team. Discovering the Knippenbergs’ story has been every bit as inspiring as it is fascinating.”