Kate Winslet period piece? Sign us up. Kate Winslet period piece about paleontology with a lesbian love affair? We’re already grabbing our fossil brushes.
Back in 2018, it was announced Oscar winner Kate Winslet and Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan were set to star as lovers in Ammonite, a British romantic drama from writer-director Francis Lee, director of the critically acclaimed gay film God’s Own Country.
“Set in a U.K. coastal town in the 1840s,” reported Deadline, the film “will follow the unlikely romance between paleontologist Mary Anning and a London woman of means to whom she must unexpectedly play nursemaid.”
Anning, a real-life English fossil collector and dealer, made major discoveries contributing to important changes in scientific thought regarding prehistoric life. She died in 1847 at the age of 47.
We feel like fossils since the project was first announced, and now we’re finally getting our first glimpse at the Oscar contender in the film’s new trailer. (Yes, it shows Winslet and Ronan getting close by candlelight. You’re welcome.)
But not everyone is excited for Ammonite. As NewNowNext previously reported, some of Anning’s descendants aren’t pleased that screenwriters added in a lesbian love story.
According to Daily Mail, the film will feature a romance between Winslet’s character and a young, wealthy woman played by Ronan (Little Women). But Barbara Anning—a distant niece of Anning who lives near the U.K. coastline where the intrepid paleontologist made her discoveries hundreds of years ago—told the British news outlet that there’s no historical evidence her aunt was queer.
“The lesbian storyline is pure Hollywood as far as I know, and there was no suggestion that she was a lesbian at all,” Barbara said. “That’s just what they do, I suppose.”
Anning was a working-class Victorian woman described by those who knew her as a “loner.” Though she made game-changing paleontological discoveries on the U.K.’s Jurassic Coast and even ran her family’s fossil business, many scientific journals of her day refused to publish her writing because she was a woman. She’s regarded as a pioneer for women in science to this day.
Ammonite will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Until then, check out the new trailer below.