The director of upcoming romantic period drama Ammonite has released the first official image of Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as lesbian lovers.
Ammonite—which is directed and written by God’s Own Country‘s Francis Lee—will tell the story of real-life Victorian palaeontologist Mary Anning (Winslet) falling in love with a younger woman called Charlotte (Ronan).
Lee has released the first official image from Ammonite as filming comes to a close.
Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan will play lesbian lovers with an intense bond in Ammonite
In the film, Charlotte (played by Ronan) is entrusted to the care of Mary Anning (Winslet). The women initially clash, but soon form an intense bond.
Lee also announced that Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve) has joined the cast, along with James McArdle, Gemma Jones and Alec Secareanu.
“I wanted to give her a relationship with someone that felt worthy of her.”
– Ammonite director Francis Lee
It was announced last December that Winslet and Ronan would play lesbian lovers in the upcoming romantic drama film. The news led to a huge reaction from LGBT+ fans. Both stars were later spotted filming in the scenic town of Lyme Regis in March.
Lee has revealed that he first came across the historical figure of Mary Anning when he was looking for a fossil for his boyfriend.
Francis Lee: ‘I knew I didn’t want to make a biography’
“I was instantly drawn to this working-class woman who despite being born disadvantaged within a class-ridden, patriarchal society, rose to being one of the leading authorities in her field, but whose accomplishments went almost totally unrecognised by her contemporaries.
“There is virtually nothing written about her personally, largely because of her gender and class, but I knew I didn’t want to make a biography, I wanted to give her a relationship with someone that felt worthy of her.
“Within this I wanted to explore the dynamics of a relationship and how we navigate the sense of self within that. Above all I wanted to make sure I gave dignity and respect to elevate Mary Anning to the status she should have had when she was alive. History for me is a creative discipline based on interpretations.”
Some expressed disappointment that Ammonite would depict Mary Anning as a lesbian
While many LGBT+ film-goers expressed excitement at the project, some were dissatisfied with the choice to represent Anning as a lesbian.
In an online discussion quoted in The Telegraph, Anning’s distant niece Barbara Anning said: “I believe if Mary Anning was gay she should be portrayed as gay and this should also be by a gay actress.”
“But I do not believe there is any evidence to back up portraying her as a gay woman… I believe Mary Anning was abused because she was poor, uneducated and a woman. Is that not enough?”
However, Lee later responded to the criticism and said that the film “hasn’t even been made yet” and called on commentators to wait for it to be released before casting judgement.