Kate Winslet on passionate same-sex romps and ‘lesbian’ controversy over new film Ammonite


IT’S a film about fossils, dinosaur remains and the beautiful Dorset coastline – and features passionate same-sex romps between its two main characters.

New movie Ammonite promises a scorcher of a romance between pioneering 19th-century palaeontologist Mary Anning and her younger married lover Charlotte Murchison.

Ammonite is film about fossils, dinosaur remains and the beautiful Dorset coastline – and features passionate same-sex romps between its two main characters

12

Ammonite is film about fossils, dinosaur remains and the beautiful Dorset coastline – and features passionate same-sex romps between its two main charactersCredit: Planet Photos

But the film, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Charlotte, has angered some of Mary’s descendants, as there is no evidence to show she was a lesbian, or anything more than just friends with Charlotte.

Even so, Kate, 45, said: “It was very clear to me that they were quite capable of passionate moments, and Saoirse and I both wanted to embody that.

“And for me, at the age I am now, that felt quite good, actually.”

Saoirse added: “I had a wonderful time. I’ve never done a sex scene so intense and full-on before.”

The film follows the romance between 19th-century palaeontologist Mary Anning, played by Kate Winslet and her younger married lover Charlotte Murchison, portrayed by Saoirse Ronan

12

The film follows the romance between 19th-century palaeontologist Mary Anning, played by Kate Winslet and her younger married lover Charlotte Murchison, portrayed by Saoirse RonanCredit: Planet Photos

But Mary’s descendant Barbara Anning posted on an online discussion: “I do not believe there is any evidence to back up portraying her as a gay woman.

“I believe Mary Anning was abused because she was poor, uneducated and a woman. Is that not enough?”

Yet Francis Lee, director of the movie — out today on digital platforms— has ferociously defended the lesbian storyline. He said: “What I tried to do was to take this working-class woman, who hadn’t been recognised in her lifetime, and elevate her.

“And because men had blocked and overlooked her, and appropriated her work for themselves, I felt that this relationship couldn’t be with a man.”

Kate, talking about Mary and Charlotte, said: 'It was very clear to me that they were quite capable of passionate moments, and Saoirse and I both wanted to embody that'

12

Kate, talking about Mary and Charlotte, said: ‘It was very clear to me that they were quite capable of passionate moments, and Saoirse and I both wanted to embody that’Credit: WENN

Largely omitted from the history books, Mary made ground-breaking dinosaur discoveries in the cliffs around Lyme Regis in the 1800s.

Yet another of her legacies is as the inspiration for the tongue twister “She sells sea shells by the sea shore”, written by songwriter Terry Sullivan in 1908. The rhyme stems from Mary’s childhood, when she collected and sold ammonite fossils — rather than shells — to tourists to keep her desperately poor family out of the workhouse.

Her fascination with nature was said to have been triggered by being struck by lightning when she was 15 months old. Mary survived, but three women around her died.

American Shelley Emling wrote in her biography of Mary: “Many years later, Lyme Regis resid- ents would say that a ‘dull child’ had been transformed into a lively, healthy, and ex- ceedingly curious young girl by the accident.”

Saoirse admitted: 'I had a wonderful time. I’ve never done a sex scene so intense and full-on before'

12

Saoirse admitted: ‘I had a wonderful time. I’ve never done a sex scene so intense and full-on before’Credit: Bridgeman Images

At the age of 12 she astounded geologists by un- earthing the re- mains of a previously undiscov- ered 175million-year-old fish-lizard hybrid called an ichtyosaur.

She then sold her discovery — now in London’s Natural History Museum — for £23, which was enough to feed her family for six months.

Self-educated Mary later found the remains of an aquatic dinosaur, the pliosaur, and a pterodactyl predecessor in the Lyme Regis cliffs.

Her fossilised finds caused a furore, as the prehistoric creatures called into question the Bible’s widely accepted story of creation.

Devoutly religious Mary found herself in the firing line of furious church authorities, who accused her of heresy.

The film, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Charlotte, has angered some of Mary’s descendants, as there is no evidence to show she was a lesbian

12

The film, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Charlotte, has angered some of Mary’s descendants, as there is no evidence to show she was a lesbianCredit: Supplied by LMK

Anglican pastor George Bugg wrote: “Was ever the word of God laid so deplorably prostrate at the feet of an infant and prec- ocious science!”

Meanwhile top scientists marvelled at Mary’s fossils and puzzled over what had become of these Jurassic beasts.

Today, scientists say these discoveries are likely to have influenced Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which says we evolved from apes. The great scientist’s university professor, Adam Sedgwick, was among a long line of geologists who visited and sought advice from Mary at her shop in Lyme Regis.

Letters show she wrote to geologist Charles Lyell, whose works were read by Darwin during his global research voyages on HMS Beagle.

The film's director of the movie Francis Lee has ferociously defended the lesbian storyline

12

The film’s director of the movie Francis Lee has ferociously defended the lesbian storylineCredit: Supplied by LMK

As a working-class woman she relied on male geologists to publish and sell papers on her fossils. The male-dominated world of geology often took credit for Mary’s discoveries, which involved back-breaking and dangerous work.

In a letter to a friend in 1833, she told how a landslide killed her dog and nearly swept her away too.

She wrote: “Perhaps you will laugh when I say that the death of my old faithful dog has quite upset me, the cliff fell upon him and killed him in a moment before my eyes, and close to my feet. It was but a moment between me and the same fate.”

Gruff Mary was said to have a thick Westcountry accent, matted hair and dirty fingers, and she wore bulky clothes. Her appearance meant she was often the butt of what would now be regarded as sexist jokes by the same scientists who benefitted from her work. Anatomist Richard Owen — who coined the phrase “dinosaur” — visited Mary in 1842 and joked in a letter to a friend he would “take a run down to make love to Mary Anning at Lyme”.

Largely omitted from the history books, Mary made ground-breaking dinosaur discoveries in the cliffs around Lyme Regis in the 1800s

12

Largely omitted from the history books, Mary made ground-breaking dinosaur discoveries in the cliffs around Lyme Regis in the 1800sCredit: Alamy

But Mary could give as good as she got. She once vented her anger: “The world has used me ill. These men of learning have sucked my brains, and made a great deal of publishing works, of which I furnished the contents, while I derived none of the advantages.”

But a few male scientists did stand up for Mary, including an eccentric Oxford geology professor, the Reverend William Buckland.

He would often give her credit in the Geological Society’s lectures — which as a woman, she was not allowed to attend.

Swiss geologist Louis Agassiz, who first proposed the idea of the ice age, named two fossilised fish species after her — the accrodus anningiae and the belenostomus anningiae.

Kate's character Mary took a dim view of the opposite sex

12

Kate’s character Mary took a dim view of the opposite sexCredit: Capital Pictures

Despite having male friends, Mary took a dim view of the opposite sex, and often gave them a dressing down.

Her friend Anna Maria Pinney wrote in her diary: “She was very good-humoured with me, but gossiped and abused almost everyone in Lyme, laughing extremely at the young dandies, saying they were numskulls, not men.”

Despite her views, Mary did have two love interests which raised eyebrows at the time. The first was childhood friend and Jamaican plantation heir Henry de la Beche.

Mary was said to be heartbroken when he married, although they stayed close throughout her life. An amateur geologist himself, he even sold his drawings of her discoveries and handed over the profits to Mary.

After Henry’s wife Letitia took a lover and divorced him, Mary was devastated when a proposal did not come her way.

Mary's pliosaur in London's Natural History Museum

12

Mary’s pliosaur in London’s Natural History MuseumCredit: Alamy

Shelley Emling wrote: “Mary might have secretly harboured hopes of forming her own relationship with De la Beche after the break-up of his marriage. Many authors and historians have hinted at a romantic tie between the two.

“But De la Beche may have left England for Europe after his break-up without a word to Mary.”

Mary was rarely paid well for her fossils and in her early twenties she ran into severe financial problems.

When a fossil fanatic, 52-year-old Colonel Thomas Birch, heard that the family were selling their furniture to pay rent, he stepped in to help.

Kate and Saoirse in a tender moment in Ammonite

12

Kate and Saoirse in a tender moment in AmmoniteCredit: Planet Photos

Even though he barely knew the Annings, he auctioned off his collection and gave £400, equivalent to £32,000 in today’s money, to Mary.

Fellow collector George Cumberland hinted that despite the age gap there may be more to their beachside walks. He wrote: “Col Birch is generally at Charmouth. They say Miss Anning attends him.”

But neither dalliance turned into marriage and Mary died a spinster, aged 47, from breast cancer.

Her contributions to science have only recently been recognised. In 2018, the Natural History Museum named several rooms after her and in 2010 the Royal Society named her in the top ten historical female scientists.

The latest film tribute to Mary may have viewers wondering if she was attracted to women. She remained unmarried and did enjoy close friendships with a number of women.

The pair embrace in the controversial film

12

The pair embrace in the controversial filmCredit: Planet Photos

She become friends with Charlotte Murchison, whose husband Roderick was a geologist.

Unlike Saoirse Ronan’s character, Charlotte was ten years older than Mary and already a fossil enthusiast. She protested outside the Geological Society when they would not allow women into their lectures.

A feminist for her time, she very well may have enjoyed a fling with equally radical Mary. But the opposite may also be true — Mary’s letters to Charlotte show she had the hots for ex-military man Roderick.

Mary once wrote to Charlotte that her husband was “certainly the handsomest piece of flesh and blood I ever saw”.

Ammonite is out today on digital platforms

12

Ammonite is out today on digital platformsCredit: Supplied by LMK

FEMALE SCREEN FLINGS

INTIMACY co-ordinators, all- female crew and lesbian love scenes – post #MeToo Holly-wood has created a boom in same-sex dramas.

Here we chart the biggest TV and cinema hits with female love stories.

THE FAVOURITE, 2018: This dark comedy, set in 1708, stars Olivia Colman as Queen Anne.

It recounts the story of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, played by Rachel Weisz, competing for the favours of the Queen with lady-in-waiting Abigail, por- trayed by Emma Stone.

The Duchess and Queen become lovers – but Abigail also starts a sexual relationship with the monarch, sparking rivalry between the two.

GENTLEMAN JACK, 2019: Suranne Jones stars in this steamy BBC series, set in 1832, about landowner and industrialist Anne Lister, the Gentleman Jack in the title.

She fell in love with wealthy heiress Ann Walker, played by Sophie Rundle, and they take communion together in an act regarded as Britain’s first lesbian marriage.

They lived together at Shibden Hall in West Yorkshire until Lister died of a fever in 1840.

THE PROM, 2020: Ageing Broadway stars flock to Indiana to support a young girl banned from taking her girlfriend to the prom. The film is based on the true story of Constance McMillen, who sued her school.

LINE OF DUTY, series six, 2021: The debut of DCI Jo Davidson, played by Kelly Macdonald, who is ending a relationship with her subordinate Ferida – but sexual tension is sizzling with Kate Fleming.

Will the pair hook up? We’ll have to wait and see.

KILLING EVE, series four, 2022: In the BBC TV series Jodie Comer plays assassin Villanelle, while Sandra Oh is the intelligence agent Eve Polastri on her trail.

A chance encounter leads to Villanelle becoming sexually obsessed with Eve in an extreme love-hate relationship.

The final series is being filmed to be shown next year.

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk





Source link

Leave a Reply