In the relatively recent tradition of Academy-loved actresses teaming up to play lovers on the big screen—recent examples include Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams in Disobedience, and Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart in Lizzie—Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet will soon strike up an “unlikely romance” in Ammonite, an upcoming period drama about British paleontologist Mary Anning and a younger woman she’s tasked with nursing back to health, Deadline reports.
The film will be set in a seaside English town in either the 1820s, per Deadline, or the 1840s, per Variety, and will star Winslet as Anning, a noted fossil hunter who reportedly made significant discoveries in prehistoric fossil beds along the cliffs lining the English Channel. (If Winslet and Ronan are to maintain their almost 20-year age difference, it makes more sense for the film to take place in the 1840s, when Anning, who was born in 1799, would have been in her 40s.) The name of Ronan’s character has not yet been released, but she’ll play a young London-based woman “of means” who is sent to the seaside to recover from an illness, with Anning serving as her nursemaid.
As if Winslet and Ronan don’t already serve as sufficient awards bait for what promises to be an “intense” and dramatic film—they have nine Oscar nominations and one win between them—the film is also reportedly set to be written and directed by acclaimed God’s Own Country director Francis Lee, and produced by the masterminds behind hits like Widows, Lion, and The King’s Speech. Production is scheduled to begin in March 2019.
Though Ammonite will mark Ronan and Winslet’s first collaboration, they’re both exceedingly familiar with the world of historical dramas (see: Ronan in Mary, Queen of Scots and Brooklyn, and Winslet in Titanic and The Reader) and, in fact, discussed their mutual love of playing people totally different from themselves in an “Actors on Actors” segment for Variety in 2015. “Playing Joanna [Hoffman] was something so different to me; unlike you in Brooklyn, I don’t know anyone like this person. It was absolutely playing a role,” Winslet said at the time, referring to her Steve Jobs character. “It was a huge luxury to play somebody who absolutely was nothing like me.” Ronan agreed, “Which is a treat to do. It’s such a pleasure to play someone like that. Because you can escape into it.”
Related: Saoirse Ronan Cried During Greta Gerwig’s Dance Parties On the Set of Lady Bird