Kate Winslet as Mary Anning and Saoirse Ronan as her lesbian lover in upcoming romantic drama Ammonite.
Kate Winslet has emphatically hit back at pearl-clutching critics of lesbian drama Ammonite, saying that she, above all, “champions same-sex love stories”.
Speaking to Attitude magazine, the 45-year-old actor explained how people have taken offence at its same-sex love story captures just how important telling queer stories are.
The movie sees Winslet’s real-life palaeontologist Mary Anning fall for Saoirse Ronan’s Charlotte, a waify, grief-engulfed wife of a baronet.
Both stars went to their gay friends for advice on how best to represent the queer experience on-screen – one that came very close to not being told at all.
Kate Winslet: ‘I hope that we are able to normalise same-sex connection on film’
Director Francis Lee, who also oversaw 2017’s critically-acclaimed God’s Own Country, revealed that he faced pushback from the press and from Anning’s descendants about his decision to portray her as queer.
The filmmaker said he doesn’t understand why historic figures are presumed to be straight until proven otherwise and insisted that Ammonite is not a biopic.
Kate Winslet echoed this, given that there is a “lack of historical evidence” on her sexuality.
“There is no historical evidence whatsoever to suggest she had relationships with men, none,” she said. “And she was not married.
“So, I think it should be permissible to explore an alternative love life for that individual, to delve into what might have gone on in the inner workings of their heart.
“And I don’t understand why that matters. I don’t understand what difference it makes to who Mary was and her extraordinary achievements, to pair her with a woman.
“For me, I absolutely love and champion same-sex love stories and any LGBTQ stories that we can possibly get our hands-on.
“And I hope that we are able to normalise same-sex connection on film without hesitation, secrecy or fear, by normalising these relationships.”
Winslet also lasered in on how the movie’s response would have been far less rabble-rousing if Mary’s love interest were male.
“Why does it have to be sensationalised or commented on or criticised in any way?” she explained.
“You know, I don’t actually know if it actually has been criticised, because I just don’t read things like that, to be honest.
“But what difference does it make? I wasn’t raised like that. That’s not how I was raised.
“What difference does it make? A person’s a person.”