The Lost Daughter: Olivia Colman’s new film is an Elena Ferrante adaptation

Posted by for Life

The Oscar-winning actor will star in a film retelling of a 2006 book by the author, directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and co-starring Dakota Johnson and Jessie Buckley. 

If we were going to play magnetic fridge poetry, with each of the magnets representing something that we unabashedly adore, we couldn’t have put together a better sentence than this:

Olivia Colman to star in Elena Ferrante adaptation, directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and co-starring Dakota Johnson and Jessie Buckley.

Every single one of those elements seems scientifically engineered to appeal specifically to us. We are, naturally, enormous fans of Colman’s work and have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of her post-Oscars, post-The Crown projects. We are excited that Gyllenhaal will be directing her first film, and that that first film is an adaptation of Ferrante’s novel The Lost Daughter. We think Johnson is a fantastic actor, and anyone who has seen A Bigger Splash must surely agree with us. As for Jessie Buckley? We have two words for you: Wild Rose

All in all, were pretty pleased with the news about this forthcoming film. Here is everything you need to know about The Lost Daughter

What is The Lost Daughter about?

The Lost Daughter: Maggie Gyllenhaal will direct Olivia Colman in an Elena Ferrante adaptation.

The Lost Daughter was written by Ferrante in 2006 and tells the story of Leda, a professor on a summer vacation near the ocean who becomes obsessed with a young mother she spots playing with her daughter on the beach. As she becomes more entwined with the young woman, and her unnerving family, Leda begins to remember her own history of past trauma…

Sounds atmospheric and totally moody, don’t you think? Knowing Ferrante, the story will be dripping in a time and place, and knowing Gyllenhaal, it will be turned into a very sensual film.

As Gyllenhaal said in a statement: “When I finished reading Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter, I felt that something secret and true had been said out loud. And I was both disturbed and comforted by that. I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theatre, with other people around.”

Who is in the cast of The Lost Daughter?

The Lost Daughter: Dakota Johnson to star alongside Olivia Colman in Elena Ferrante adaptation.

Colman will play Leda, while Johnson will play the young mother on the beach. Rounding out the cast are Buckley and Gyllenhaal’s husband Peter Sarsgaard, who will play members of Johnson’s character’s extended family. 

When did The Lost Daughter first get announced?

Ferrante first announced The Lost Daughter back in 2018 in her column for The Guardian. In it, Ferrante penned an open letter to Gyllenhaal, giving her the creative license to do what she likes with her story, no matter how much she would wish for her to stay faithful to the source material.

“It’s important for me – for her, for all women – that her work be hers and turn out well,” Ferrante wrote. “Mine already exists, with its strengths and defects. In the great warehouse of the arts, set up mainly by men, women have for a relatively short time been seeking the means and opportunities to give a form of their own to what they have learned from life. So I don’t want to say: you have to stay inside the cage that I constructed.” 

What is the release date for The Lost Daughter?

A release date for The Lost Daughter is yet to be announced. We will update you when we hear more. 

Images: Getty

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Share this article

Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

Recommended by Hannah-Rose Yee