Olivia Colman to star in harrowing Elena Ferrante adaptation - and it features an all-star cast

A dark and gripping psychological drama starring some of the world's most accomplished actresses.

Olivia Coleman

After her stint on The Crown, Olivia Colman is back in Hollywood - and we can’t wait to see the results of her latest project, an adaptation of revered Italian novelist Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter.

The film also stars, and will be directed by, Maggie Gyllenhaal, in her directorial debut. Maggie was so moved by the book that she felt compelled to set about working on an adaptation straight away.

“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. I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theatre, with other people around," she said in a statement about the film.

“And I set to work on this adaptation. 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.”

Who is ‘The Lost Daughter’?

It’s unclear from the plot exactly who the title refers to, but the plot centres around two women and their experiences of motherhood. Leda, played by Olivia Colman, is a professor staying near the ocean, who by a chance encounter becomes transfixed by a young woman she sees playing on the beach with her daughter (Nina, played by Dakota Johnson). As her intrigue turns to obsession, Leda begins to confront her own family history and past trauma.

What can we expect from the film?

Described on Amazon as ‘a complex, controlled and piercing meditation on motherhood and womanhood,’ the emotional storyline follows two women and their struggles.

Back in 2018, Elena wrote an open letter to Maggie in a Guardian column, giving her creative license to pursue her interpretation of the film.

MORE:Olivia Colman reveals battle with Wikipedia over her age: 'We'd have to see a birth certificate'

‘It’s important for me – for her, for all women – that her work be hers and turn out well,’ Elena Ferrante wrote. ‘Mine already exists, with its strengths and defects.

'In the great warehouse of the arts, set up mainly by men, women have for a relatively short time been seeking the means and opportunities to give a form of their own to what they have learned from life. So I don’t want to say: you have to stay inside the cage that I constructed.’

Who stars in The Lost Daughter alongside Olivia Colman?

Olivia Colman joins a host of famous faces for the film, including Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose, Judy), Dakota Johnson (Bad Times at the El Royale, The Peanut Butter Falcon), and Peter Sarsgaard (Garden State, The Magnificent Seven).

When will The Lost Daughter hit screens in the UK?

The Lost Daughter is currently in pre-production, so a date hasn’t been set yet.

Lauren Hughes
Lauren Hughes

Lauren is deputy editor at woman&home.com in the UK and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has worked on the woman&home brand for four years. Before woman&home Lauren worked across a variety of women's lifestyle titles, including GoodTo, Woman's Own, and Woman magazine. After starting out working for a local paper in Yorkshire, her journalism career took her to Bristol where she hunted out stories for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant.


Lauren loves helping people share their stories, bringing experiences to life online, honing her interview techniques with everyone from authors to celebrities, headteachers to local heroes. As well as having a good nose for a story, Lauren has a passion for the English language and years of experience optimizing digital content to reach the widest audience possible. During her time at w&h, Lauren has worked on big brand campaigns like the Amazing Women Awards and assisted in developing w&h expert-approved Buyer's Guides—the place to go if you're looking to splash out on an important purchase and want some trusted advice. In addition to her journalism career, Lauren also has a background in copywriting for prestigious brands such as Inhabit Hotel, eco-development K'in in Tulum, social enterprise The Goldfinger Factory and leading London architect Holland Harvey, using language in all its glorious forms, from detailed guidebooks to snappy social content. 


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