Francis Lee’s upcoming Victorian era sapphic drama Ammonite, is a favourite for next year’s awards season. The film will star Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as a famous paleontologist and the younger woman sent to stay with her, and it’s already causing a stir with its lustful depictions of forbidden love, longing glances, and mournful stares.
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Winslet described the process behind one particular sex scene, which she choreographed with co-star Ronan. “Saoirse and I choreographed the scene ourselves,” she said. “It’s definitely not like eating a sandwich. I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe. Francis was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, ‘Listen, let us work it out.’ And we did.”
“We marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative, she explained, adding: “I felt the proudest I’ve ever felt doing a love scene on Ammonite. And I felt by far the least self-conscious.”
Set in 1840s England, Ammonite depicts the forbidden romance between real-life fossil hunter Mary Anning (Winslet) and the timid married woman (Ronan) she takes up with.
Last year, some of Anning’s still living relatives voiced their rejection of Lee’s portrayal of Anning's relationship with Murchison, saying that her sexuality was never confirmed. Lee took to social media to defend the movie: “After seeing queer history be routinely ‘straightened’ throughout culture, and given a historical figure where there is no evidence whatsoever of a heterosexual relationship, is it not permissible to view that person within another context...?”
“As a working class, queer film maker, I continually explore the themes of class, gender, sexuality within my work, treating my truthful characters with utter respect and I hope giving them authentic respectful lives and relationships they deserve.”
The film – previously slated to have its first screening at Cannes – will premiere at Toronto Film Festival later this year, and is already providing us with some very iconic, gay scenes – if the first trailer is anything to go by, that is.
Ammonite will debut in the US November 13, with UK release date to be announced soon. Watch the trailer below.