The first glimpse of Lena Dunham’s latest film has dropped and if the trailer is anything to go by, it looks like it’s going to be a barrel of laughs.
Although Catherine Called Birdy follows the life of a feisty young woman and still deals with Dunham’s favourite subjects of girls, feminism, female autonomy and self-discovery, the Prime Video film is a real departure from her previous work.
Firstly, it’s set in the 13th century – a world away from the bohemian New York City loft setting she has become associated with – and is about a 14-year-old Lady of the manor in England.
The film is based on Karen Cushman‘s 1994 children’s novel of the same name. It follows the story of the mischievious Catherine who does everything in her power to stop her father from marrying her off.
Bella Ramsey, who we’ve already seen dressed up in medieval garb as Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones, plays Lady Catherine aka Birdy, while Andrew Scott (still everyone’s favourite as Fleabag’s Hot Priest) plays her villainous father.
“You’re my only daughter,” says Scott in the opening of the trailer. “If I say that you shall be married, then married you shall be.”
Then in another scene, Ramsey says, “Should I choose to die rather than be forced to marry? I do not find either option appealing. Or fair.”
The film has been years in the making. Dunham first read and loved the book back when she was ten years old, and then bought the rights of the film shortly after her series Girls began airing in 2012. She’s spent the last decade writing the script and finding the right partners to help her make the film.
Now it has finally come to fruition, with Dunham directing, and Michael P. Cohen, Liz Watson and Sky Studios’ Tilly Coulson producing.
There’s an absolutely packed cast of stars too. Billie Piper and Joe Alwyn join Ramsey and Scott on screen, as do Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones, 1917), Ralph Ineson (The Northman, The Tragedy of Macbeth), Isis Hainsworth (Misbehaviour, the forthcoming Red Rose) and Archie Renaux (Morbius). Russell Brand even has a cameo role.
This is Dunham’s third film. She previously wrote and directed Sharp Stick, which was released earlier this year, and Tiny Furniture, which was released in 2010.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Dunham said: “It isn’t a story about a teenage warrior. It isn’t a story about a forbidden teenage romance. She doesn’t have magical powers. It doesn’t fall into [those] tropes. She really is just a complicated, tough – at times doing challenging and unlikable things – young woman.”
Ramsey added that she was hooked as soon as she read the book: “It was so wonderfully chaotic. I love the weirdness and boldness and quirkiness that Birdy embodies,” she said.
Catherine Called Birdy is out in selected cinemas on September 23, and on Prime Video on October 7.