Maggie Gyllenhaal is stepping behind the camera with The Lost Daughter, the forthcoming film adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s 2008 novel that Gyllenhaal has scripted and is set to direct under indie production company Pie Films, per Deadline.
In a move seemingly specifically designed to break Film Twitter, Gyllenhaal has tapped Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson to star, two women who give off a potent and magnetic “admire me from afar” aura ... whose eyes tell you they know more than you do ... whose mothers must have told them if they kept wryly smirking so much their faces would freeze like that ... with the shared energy of the beautiful cat that slinks around your apartment building eyeing you but won’t let you get too close. The varsity team of a cast also includes Peter Sarsgaard and Jessie Buckley.
The story follows Leda (Colman), a professor and divorced mother of two, on a solo vacation to coastal Italy, where relaxation (which we are optimistically picturing as Colman in cat-eye sunglasses laid up on a chaise lounge drinking a mimosa, in the exact vein of “Fabulous” from feminist masterwork High School Musical 2) gives way to unsettling encounters with a menacing nearby family. According to the book’s official synopsis, Leda becomes “overwhelmed by memories of the difficult and unconventional choices she made as a mother and their consequences for herself and her family.”
Regret! Contemplation! Yearning! Between this movie and Call Me By Your Name, as well as the Renaissance, we guess, it appears Italy is where a girl has to go to really think.
At the New Yorker Festival, Gyllenhaal said was drawn to the story’s honest expression of womanhood: “I have never heard these things articulated before. There was one point where I was like, ‘This woman is so fucked up,’ and then I was like, ‘I totally relate to her.’”
Female directors may have been ignored at the Oscars this year, but recent years’ groundswell of support and advocacy for female directors, Gyllenhaal said, pushed her to make her directorial debut. “I feel, like, something about the climate right now. I feel like what’s happening in the world right now has shifted my thinking about whether or not I can direct or can begin to think about directing.”
Subsequently, Gyllenhaal took a break from what one hopes is a busy schedule of chastising her brother for the events of Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well,” to write to Ferrante about The Lost Daughter’s potential for screen adaptation. Ferrante granted her the rights, on the condition that Gyllenhaal direct.