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Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honourable Woman) is taking her seat in the director’s chair for the first time, adapting Elena Ferrante’s 2006 novel The Lost Daughter for the big screen, reports Deadline. She definitely has some pull, recruiting powerhouse actress Olivia Colman (The Favourite) to take the lead.

Colman will portray a woman named Leda, who is a college professor and single mother. When her daughters leave home, she finds herself on her own for the first time in a while. With this new sense of freedom, she heads to Italy for a vacation, but things take a turn and she begins to unravel.

Gyllenhaal talked about how she came upon the project, saying to Deadline, “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.”

She also talked about what made her want to adapt the book, “I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theatre, with other people around. And I set to work on this adaptation.”

It wasn’t just Gyllenhaal who was drawn in by the subject matter, with her going on to say, “I find that the script has attracted other people interested in exploring these secret truths about motherhood, sexuality, femininity, desire. And I’m thrilled to continue my collaboration with such brave and exciting actors and filmmakers.”

The book’s description gives a little bit more background, that Leda runs into a family while hanging on the beach. Something about their presence proves to be unsettling and acts as trigger for Leda, bringing up bad memories. If you’d like to find out more about author Elena Ferrante and her storytelling, this 2008 New York Times review is a good start. 

In addition to Colman, we can look for Dakota JohnsonJessie Buckley and Peter Sarsgaard.

Is this going on your watch list? 

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By Brigid Brown