Francis Lee has defended his latest film after it faced criticism both online and in the media.
The filmmaker – who directed and wrote the beautiful God’s Own Country – is currently shooting his latest movie Ammonite starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, tells the story of fossil hunter Mary Anning and the movie is set to show a lesbian love affair.
However, the new film faced backlash after a member of Anning’s family claimed that the lesbian storyline is ‘pure Hollywood’ and never happened, despite Anning being particularly secret about her personal life and never marrying.
But now, Lee has taking to Twitter to defend his film and said he treats his ‘characters with utter respect’ and tries to give them ‘authentic respectful lives and relationships they deserve’.
In a Twitter thread, he wrote: “A Sunday thread: It has come to my attention there is huge speculation about my new film and the ‘controversial’ flames that have been fanned on a slow ‘news’ story day by newspapers and columnists who haven’t read my script or know anything about my film.
“I should also point out that the film (again, that these newspaper writers know absolutely nothing about) hasn’t even been made yet.
“After seeing queer history be routinely ‘straightened’ throughout culture, and given a historical figure where there is no evidence whatsoever of a heterosexual relationship, is it not permissible to view that person within another context...?
A Sunday thread: It has come to my attention there is huge speculation about my new film and the ‘controversial’ flames that have been fanned on a slow ‘news’ story day by newspapers and columnists who haven’t read my script or know anything about my film— Francis Lee (@strawhousefilms) March 17, 2019
“Particularly a woman whose work and life were subjected to the worst aspects of patriarchy, class discrimination and gender imbalance...
“As a working class, queer film maker, I continually explore the themes of class, gender, sexuality within my work, treating my truthful characters with utter respect and I hope giving them authentic respectful lives and relationships they deserve
“Would these newspaper writers have felt the need to whip up uninformed quotes from self-proclaimed experts if the character’s sexuality had been assumed to be heterosexual?”
He then goes on to say that people should not already judge a film before it has actually been made.
He said: “As film makers we try to make the best work possible and perhaps it would be better to wait until that work actually exists before assuming, presuming or critiquing what that work is and how it depicts its subjects and world.
“I would now love to get on with the business of actually making a new film which I hope you will like. Thank you for reading.”
Ammonite is currently shooting in Dorset and quite frankly, if it's anything like God's Own Country we cannot wait to watch it!