Kate Winslet will play real-life 1800s fossil hunter in ‘Ammonite’

Titanic star Kate Winslet will lead the cast of a new romantic period drama about… paleontology.

It’s taken nearly 200 years for fossil finder Mary Anning to get the credit she deserves for her revolutionary work pioneering the field of paleontology.

Now she’ll be the subject of a new movie from the director of God’s Own Country.

Winslet will star as Anning, alongside Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots) as Charlotte Murchison, Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve) as Elizabeth Philpot, Alec Secareanu (God’s Own Country) as Dr. Lieberson, James McArdle (Mary Queen of Scots) as Roderick Murchison, and Gemma Jones (Gentleman Jack) as Molly Anning.

Anning is today considered by many scholars as “the greatest fossilist the world has known,” according to the British Society for the History of Science, but her work was widely considered to be a hoax during her lifetime.

As a woman, Anning was forbidden from becoming a member of the Geological Society and wasn’t even allowed to enter the building.

The “founding father of paleontology,” Georges Cuvier, initially declared her findings to be fake, before later admitting he was wrong and praising her “momentous discoveries.”

The official synopsis reads: “In 1800s England, acclaimed but unrecognised fossil hunter Mary Anning works alone on the rugged Southern coastline.

“With the days of her famed discoveries behind her, she now searches for common fossils to sell to tourists to support herself and her ailing mother. When a wealthy visitor entrusts Mary with the care of his wife Charlotte, she cannot afford to turn his offer down.

“Proud and relentlessly passionate about her work, Mary initially clashes with her unwelcome guest, but despite the distance between their social class and personalities, an intense bond begins to develop, compelling the two women to determine the true nature of their relationship.”

Interestingly, it is believed that Anning’s life was the inspiration for the classic tongue twister “She sells seashells by the sea shore.”

Ammonite is set to arrive in cinemas in 2020.