Ammonite: Kate Winslet explains the importance of her taking control of the film’s sex scenes

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Here’s everything we know about Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan’s new film, Ammonite, including the first-look trailer. 

When Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan sign onto a project, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the film will be something special. 

The two actors, who have both picked up various accolades throughout their careers (including Winslet’s 2008 Oscar), star in a new film that everybody will be talking about during the next awards season. 

Ammonite is a romantic drama about two women who form a relationship while searching for fossils – we did a little digging ourselves to find out everything you need to know about the movie.

What is Ammonite about?

Written and directed by Francis Lee (God’s Own Country), Ammonite is set in 1800s England and tells the story of real life fossil hunter and palaeontologist Mary Anning. 

Winslet plays Anning, who works alone on the rugged southern coastline. With her days of making famous geological discoveries behind her, she now searches for common fossils to sell to tourists to support herself and her sick mother. 

But one day, a wealthy tourist visits Mary and asks her to take care of his ailing wife Charlotte Murchison (Ronan), who suffers from “melancholia.” Charlotte’s husband offers too much to turn down, and Mary has herself a new apprentice, albeit one who doesn’t “like the water”.

Mary and Charlotte initially clash, but over time they begin to form an intense and passionate bond, forcing them to determine the true nature of their relationship.

Earlier this year, Lee stated in an Entertainment Weekly interview that “it’s not a biopic” but is inspired by Anning’s life and also his research into same-sex female relationships of the period. “The idea of two women actually in a relationship together was just not a thought anybody ever had within society,” he said.

He also explained the double meaning of the film’s title in a Variety interview, saying: “An ammonite is a very vulnerable, soft sea slug, and to protect itself, it encases itself in a very hard shell [like Winslet’s character does].”

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet plays Mary Anning in Ammonite 

Winslet has talked about the sex scenes in Ammonite, explaining why it was important that she and Ronan took control of the choreography of them.

“Saoirse and I choreographed the scene ourselves,” Winslet told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to the most explicit scene. “It’s definitely not like eating a sandwich. I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe. 

“Francis [Lee] was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, ‘Listen, let us work it out.’ And we did. ‘We’ll start here. We’ll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.’ 

“I mean, we marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative. I felt the proudest I’ve ever felt doing a love scene on Ammonite. And I felt by far the least self-conscious.”

In the same interview, the actor also discussed the empowerment of her nude scenes, saying: “I’m nearly 45, and Saoirse is almost half my age. And to have an opportunity to be my real 40-something self, post-children, you know? Women aren’t really having the courage to do that.

“I was just excited to say, ‘This is what it is, peeps. This is how I am now, and it’s very much not the body I had 20 years ago.’”

Watch the Ammonite trailer

Who stars in Ammonite?

Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Alec Secareanu and Fiona Shaw all star in the brilliant cast.

When is Ammonite released?

The film was set to play at the Cannes Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival, but these were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will have its debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2020.

We’ll have to wait for a release date, but the trailer has definitely convinced us this is one to watch.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…