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To those in the know (people who watched Jurassic Park too many times when they were a kid and got obsessed with dinosaurs) Mary Anning is a legend.

She’s widely considered to be one of the most significant fossil hunters to have ever lived, making discoveries that still affect the way we view life and evolution today. 

You know how Dorset and its environs are sometimes referred to as “the Jurassic Coast”? Well that’s because of her!

She dug up loads of fossils in the soft clay on that wild stretch of coastline, starting an unprecedented “fossil gold rush” and an obsession with all things prehistoric that lasted for centuries after her death. 

Now, the acclaimed director of God’s Own Country Francis Lee, is following up his windswept and interesting debut with Ammonite, an account of Mary Anning’s life. Kate Winslet is to play the Anning, and Saoirse Ronan is to play her love interest, a young woman who arrives with her husband and begins to fall for her.

While there’s no record of Anning’s sexual preferences, Lee has no qualms in imagining things that way for the purposes of creative license. 

“I first came across Mary Anning when I was looking for a fossil for my boyfriend,” said Lee, when quizzed on the subject.

“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.”

“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.”

It’s just wrapped filming and is set to come out around this time next year. Those are pretty much all the details we’ve got so far, but as it stands – WE’RE IN! TAKE OUR MONEY!

God’s Own Country – A quiet and steamy slow-burning love story with a backdrop of hard work and sacrifice

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