Lena Dunham’s latest film “Catherine, Called Birdy” has been in the works for 13 years — almost the exact age as the historical YA novel’s heroine. Dunham writes, directs, and executive produces the coming-of-age Prime Video film, adapted from Karen Cushman’s 1996 novel of the same name. The film premieres in theaters September 23 and debuts on Prime Video October 7. Watch the first footage from the long-awaited film below.
“Game of Thrones” alum Bella Ramsey stars as the titular precocious Birdy, who is set to be married off for money so that her father (Andrew Scott) can save their English manor in the year 1290. Joe Alwyn, Ralph Ineson, Billie Piper, and Isis Hainsworth also star.
Dunham, who debuted her sophomore feature effort “Sharp Stick” at Sundance 2022 and also celebrated the 10th anniversary of “Girls” this year, has deemed “Catherine, Called Birdy” the “most ambitious project” of her career to date.
“I wanted to highlight this girl who was living in the wrong time,” Dunham told Teen Vogue. “If she was living in 2022, she would be a pretty classic tomboy or able to explore the gender binary. She’d be able to play all the sports she wanted. All of her dreams, which in 1290 are to go to a hanging and run around without a skirt on, would be achievable. But there are still as we know, huge challenges to being a woman in this day and age, and a teenage girl.”
Dunham continued, “While it feels very far away that a 13-year-old is being asked to marry a 50-year-old, we still have plenty of barbaric customs that control the way people’s bodies are dealt with. There’s so many aspects to modern life that still speak to themes of the book. I really love that we were able to highlight aspects of that, and the way the world has changed but also the way it’s stayed the same. And do it with some humor.”
As for Ramsey portraying the classic literary icon, Dunham called the actress “cheeky,” much like “the coolest Medieval teen” Birdy herself.
Ramsey made her acting debut as fierce young noblewoman Lyanna Mormont in “Game of Thrones” in 2016. She went on to star in “His Dark Materials” before leading “Catherine, Called Birdy.” Ramsey is also slated to star in the upcoming series “Becoming Elizabeth” and the HBO series “The Last of Us” opposite Pedro Pascal and Nick Offerman. She will also lend her voice to the animated feature “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.”
Check out the first footage from “Catherine, Called Birdy” below.
“Catherine, Called Birdy” premieres in theaters September 23, followed by a Prime Video debut October 7.