‘Star Wars’ star leads 1920s drama about first woman to swim English Channel

A new Disney+ movie about real-life swimmer Gertrude Ederle boasts a great cast.

Young Woman and the Sea is based on Glenn Stout’s book, Young Woman and the Sea (or How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World to give it its full title).

It tells the incredible true story of Gertrude Ederle, the first ever woman to successfully swim the English Channel in 1926, having previously won a gold medal at the 1924 Olympic Games.

Leading the film’s cast will be English actress Daisy Ridley.

Best known for her roles in Murder on the Orient Express, Ophelia, and the Star Wars sequel trilogy, she’ll be playing Ederle.

Ridley will be joined by Australian actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Gertrude’s sister, Margaret Ederle.

Young Woman and the Sea began production last spring and wrapped in June, directed by Joachim Rønning (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales).

The cast also includes British actors Christopher Eccleston and Stephen Graham.

Former Doctor Who star Eccleston’s most recent roles include BBC TV movie My Name is Leon, Oliver Twist prequel series Dodger, and autism drama The A Word.

Meanwhile, Stephen Graham’s career is going incredibly over the past couple of years, appearing in Sean Bean’s prison series Time, true crime drama White House Farm, acclaimed chef movie Boiling Point, and the final season of Peaky Blinders.

Next up, he’ll be seen reuniting with the creator of Peaky Blinders with a Victorian boxing drama series for Disney+.

The official synopsis for Glenn Stout’s book reads: “By age twenty, at the height of the Jazz Age, Trudy Ederle was the most accomplished swimmer in the world. She’d won Olympic gold and set a host of world records. But the greatest challenge remained: the English Channel.

“Only a few swimmers, none of them women, had ever made the treacherous twenty-one mile crossing. Trudy’s failed first attempt seemed to confirm what many naysayers believed: No woman could possibly accomplish such a thing.

“In 1926, Ederle proved them wrong. As her German immigrant parents cheered her, and her sister and fellow swimmer Meg helped fashion both her scandalous two-piece swimsuit and leak-proof goggles, Trudy was determined to succeed.

“England or drown is my motto,” she said, plunging into the frigid Channel for her second attempt at the crossing. Fourteen hours later, two hours faster than any man, and after weathering a gale and waves that approached six-feet, she stepped onto Kingsdowne Beach as the most famous woman in the world.”

Young Woman and the Sea will premiere exclusively streaming on Disney+ later this year.

Glenn Stout’s book Young Woman and the Sea is available on Amazon.