Michelle De Swarte (The Duchess) is set as the lead in HBO/Sky’s horror comedy The Baby. Amira Ghazalla (Riviera) and newcomer Amber Grappy also have been cast as series regulars in the eight-episode series from debut screenwriter Siân Robins-Grace, Lucy Gaymer and Cherynobyl producer Sister. The series is a co-production of HBO and Sky and is currently in production in the UK.
Questioning who gets to choose “motherhood” and who doesn’t, The Baby, is co-created and written by Robins-Grace and Gaymer. It is a funny, raw examination of motherhood as an institution: a set of unspoken and often horrifying rules that affect women differently depending on how they’re viewed by society. If you’re not scared by that, you should be.
De Swarte plays 38-year-old Natasha, the friend who’s never made long-term plans. So when she is unexpectedly landed with a baby, her life of doing what she wants, when she wants, dramatically implodes. Controlling, manipulative and with violent powers, the baby twists Natasha’s life into a horror show. And as she discovers the true extent of its deadly nature, Natasha makes increasingly desperate attempts to get rid of the baby. But while she doesn’t want a baby, the baby wants her.
Ghazalla is Mrs. Eaves, the 73-year-old enigma who has spent the last 50 years living out of her car. She seems to be everywhere the Baby is. But who is she, and what does she want with Natasha’s new arrival?
Grappy portrays Bobbi, Natasha’s younger sister, a children’s magician and a ball of joy. Bobbi is everybody’s favorite. There is nothing Bobbi wants more than to be a parent, to give love and to receive it. She couldn’t be more different to Natasha if she tried. So when Bobbi sees her sister with the thing she wants most in the world – a baby – she is blinded by jealousy and unable to see the danger they are all in.
Robins Grace executive produces with Nicole Kassell (Watchmen, The Leftovers), who also is lead director, along with Jane Featherstone, Carolyn Strauss, Naomi de Pear, Katie Carpenter. Stacey Gregg, Faraz Shariat and Elle Jones also direct. Writers include Sophie Goodhart, Kara Smith, Anchuli Felicia King and Susan Stanton. Gaymer serves as producer. Bisha K. Ali is consultant. The Baby is produced by Sister and Proverbial Pictures.
De Swarte was a series regular in Netflix series The Duchess, and has signed a development deal with Various Artists Limited (for Channel 4) for her own autobiographical comedy series.
Ghazalla recently shot a recurring role in the upcoming season of Carnival Row for Amazon and can be seen opposite Julia Stiles in Riviera for Sky Atlantic.
Grappy is currently training at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where she is in her second year.
“Natasha is an emotionally arrested, flawed and 100% relatable character that I find it hard not to fall in love with as I read through the scripts,” said De Swarte. “To be able to play someone I not only understand but am rooting for is a dream come true. Siân has written someone with depth, honesty and an authenticity that is as hilarious as it is heart-wrenching. I feel extremely blessed to be working with so many kick ass women on a project that is deliciously female centered.”
Siân Robins-Grace and Lucy Gaymer said: “Our Casting Director Aisha Bywaters has done a phenomenal job in bringing together Michelle, Amira and Amber, these three incredible actors to helm the cast. As soon as we met them it felt like the roles were written for them. We’re very excited to be working with Stacey, Faraz and Ella as directors across the show – brilliantly talented directors who will bring the episodes to life.”
De Swarte is repped by United Agents. Ghazalla is represented by Denton Brierley and Myman Greenspan. Grappy is repped by Royce Management.