Watch: 'Ammonite' Star Says She Consulted Gay Friends About Her Role

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday September 23, 2020

"Ammonite" co-star Saoirse Ronan says that when it came to playing the role of a 19th century Englishwoman who becomes involved with another woman - played in the film by Kate Winslet - she turned to her gay friends for advice, IndieWire reports.

"Any of the gay women that I had spoken to - and I think Kate did as well - before we started, we were asking them advice that we as mainly straight women wouldn't know about," Ronan recollected, according to UK newspaper the Evening Standard.

Ronan said that the counsel she received focused on "intimacies" - "Not just the sexual side of it, but just the relationships as a whole," she clarified.

Ronan, Winslet, and writer-director Francis Lee spoke about the experience of making the film at Variety's Virtual TIFF [Toronto International Film Festival] Studio, Variety reported.

Ronan plays grieving mother Charlotte Murchison opposite Kate Winslet, who portrays pioneering paleontologist Mary Anning. In the film, Anning is employed as a caretaker for Murchison, who is devastated by the death of a child. The two women forge a romantic connection.

Winslet - who, IndieWire reported, personally selected Ronan to be her co-star in the film - said that she and Ronan took the lead when it came to the film's depiction of same-sex lovemaking.

Lee was "nervous" about directing two women in a love scene, Winslet recalled, so she told him to "let us work it out." She and Ronan "marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative."

Added Winslet: "I felt the proudest I've ever felt doing a love scene on 'Ammonite.' And I felt by far the least self-conscious."

Speaking about the film prior to its film festival premiere, where it garnered instant acclaim, Lee told Entertainment Weekly that "Ammonite" was not intended as a biopic of Anning. "It's just inspired by her life," he said.

Watch the Variety TIFF clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.