Filmmaker Francis Lee announced himself as a powerful voice in film with his drama God’s Own Country in 2017. On the May 14 he announced he is preparing to turn heads again, with a first look image of anticipated romantic drama Ammonite.
Ammonite is a follow up film inspired by the life of a Victorian-era palaeontologist, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan and boasting an original screenplay by the BAFTA nominated writer and director, Francis Lee.
In association with BBC Films and BFI, See-Saw Films have celebrated wrapping principle photography on Ammonite with the release of a “first look” image.
In 1800s England, Mary Anning, an acclaimed but sadly unrecognised fossil hunter worked alone on the Southern coastline. Searching for common fossils to sell after her famed discoveries lay in the past, Mary was aiming to financially support herself and her ill mother.
Things begin to take a turn when a wealthy tourist entrusts Mary with the care of his wife Charlotte. Being financially unable to turn the offer down, personalities and social class begin to collide, but through an unlikely situation, a strong bond begins to develop.
Alongside Winslet and Ronan are Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve), James McArdle (Mary Queen of Scotts), Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones Diary) and Alec Secarenau (Baptise).
Francis Lee has expressed: “I first came across Mary Anning when I was looking for a fossil for my boyfriend. 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. She felt like a survivor despite all odds and I’m deeply drawn to characters within this context as they feel very close to me.
“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.”
Iain Canning and Emile Sherman continued: “Francis is unquestionably one of the most exciting and talented directors to have come out of the UK in the last few years. He is a writer director who connects with his material in a deep and sensitive way. We are delighted to be working with Fodhla on this special story with actors such as Kate and Saoirse who inhabit their roles and gift us performances that are both intimate and iconic. We look forward to sharing the film with audiences next year.”
Ammonite was shot on location in the historical hometown of Mary Anning – Lyme Regis Dorset, with further locations taking place in Surrey and London. Cinematography is being handled by Stéphane Fontaine (A Prophet, Rust and Bone).
Ammonite is hugely anticipated motion picture, and with the mind of Francis Lee behind it, teamed with an outstanding cast and original story, there is no doubt it is something to look out for.