NEON has released the official Ammonite trailer, which gives you a first look at Academy Award winner Kate Winslet and Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan in the romantic drama. Written and directed by Francis Lee (God’s Own Country), the movie is scheduled to open in theaters on November 13.
Ammonite also stars Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Alec Secareanu and Fiona Shaw.
In the 1840s, acclaimed self-taught palaeontologist Mary Anning (Winslet) works alone on the wild and brutal Southern English coastline of Lyme Regis. The days of her famed discoveries behind her, she now hunts for common fossils to sell torich tourists to support herself and her ailing widowed mother.
When one such tourist, Roderick Murchison (McArdle), arrives in Lyme on the first leg of a European tour, he entrusts Mary with the care of his young wife Charlotte (Ronan), who is recuperating from a personal tragedy. Mary, whose life is a daily struggle on the poverty line, cannot afford to turn him down but, proud and relentlessly passionate about her work, she clashes with her unwanted guest.
They are two women from utterly different worlds. Yet despite the chasm between their social spheres and personalities, Mary and Charlotte discover they can each offer what the other has been searching for: the realization that they are not alone.
It is the beginning of a passionate and all-consuming love affair that will defy all social bounds and alter the course of both lives irrevocably.
“I was thrilled to cast Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as the lead characters,” said Francis Lee. “I had long admired both of their careers and often bold choices. I was very excited that they wanted to work with me in the way in which I make film.
In terms of building the emotional and psychological lives of their characters, we started from the moment they were born and went right up to the first time we meet them in the film. We plotted their whole lives and learned everything in great detail – who they are and how they became.”
He added: “In tandem we worked on the physical aspects of their characters. For Kate, that meant weeks out on the beaches in Lyme Regis working with a fossiler on finding, identifying and excavating fossils. Kate became incredibly knowledgeable in her own right and dedicated herself to this work wholeheartedly.
“Saoirse learned the piano and exquisite needlepoint. Everything was investigated fully until it became second nature to the actors. It was deeply satisfying that everything in the film is done for real by the actors, no substitute was ever used.”
Lee also said the actors went through a big physical transformation. “It was important to me that Mary was very much the embodiment of an under-resourced Dorset fossiler, someone who physically works every day in the cold, rain and wind.
“I love transformative actors and I was super excited to see both Kate and Saoirse embrace this way of working with exceptional results. For me, both of their performances resonate with such a quiet and still power.”
See-Saw Films developed the project with BBC Films and the BFI (awarding lottery funding).
See-Saw’s Iain Canning and Emile Sherman (Widows, Lion, Shame) produced alongside Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (Lady Macbeth), with Simon Gillis (See-Saw’s COO of Film), Mary Burke, Rose Garnett, Zygi Kamasa executive producing.