Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet Spark an Aching Beachside Romance in Ammonite

The two actresses team up for a gripping period drama.

Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet are delivering the next must-see romantic period drama. In this upcoming indie, the power duo strike up an electric love affair as 19th-century women searching the English shores for fossils.

As the trailer shows, Winslet plays Mary Anning, a longtime paleontologist. Ronan plays Charlotte Murchison, a young married woman who is brought to Mary by her husband in hopes that she'll let Charlotte shadow her work to cure her melancholia. What begins as an informal apprenticeship transforms into a gripping beachside love affair.

It's slated to release November 13.

Ammonite debuts at the Toronto Film Festival this week, and is expected to hit theaters on November 13, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The film comes from Neon, the same distributor for recent indie marvels including Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and I, Tonya. Like its predecessors, this Francis Lee–directed feature was primed to make its mark on the festival circuit, becoming an official selection for the Cannes, Telluride, and Toronto film festivals this year.

Director Francis Lee wanted the story to be in a "totally patriarchal" setting.

"I was very drawn to that period because of this wonderful research into same-sex female relationships of the period that are all very well documented with letters to each other, demonstrating wonderful, life-long, passionate, intense, emotional relationships," Lee, who also helmed God's Own Country, told EW of Ammonite.

He was interested in setting the film during a "totally patriarchal" time period, when women were "owned" by their fathers and spouses, and deemed to not have sexual desires or pleasures. "So, the idea of two women actually in a relationship together was just not a thought anybody ever had within society," he added.

Winslet actually learned how to fossil hunt for the role.

Lee told The Los Angeles Times that he likes doing "a lot of character work" before his films begin shooting. For Ammonite, that meant Winslet and Ronan got physically involved with their characters' activities, which they were "really open" to doing.

"So Kate went on those beaches on the South coast of England for weeks and weeks and weeks and got cold and wet and learnt and became incredibly proficient at fossil hunting and knowledgeable," Lee said. "And Saoirse had to learn how to play the piano and learn how to do needlepoint and all these things. Both of them totally threw themselves into it physically, which was just wonderful."

Ronan got a call from Winslet after a certain scene in Little Women.

Speaking at TIFF, Ronan revealed that Winslet called her after she filmed a Little Women scene set on a frozen pond, which reminded Ronan of Jack and Rose's iconic scene in Titanic. "I had just done a scene with Timothée [Chalamet] on the ice, swinging each other around," she said during a presentation. "I was like, 'This is our Titanic moment!' and then Kate called. It's Rose!"

Ronan and Winslet got along swimmingly. "I think a big part of that is because she's very personable, friendly, and open," Ronan added. "We were really lucky. Two women getting to come together, especially in the intimate scenes, being able to choreography that ourselves was a new experience for me. It was great to be able to do that with Kate."

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