Kate will do 1940s romance and fashion.
Variety reports that Kenneth Branagh will direct Kate Winslet in an adaptation of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,” a 2008 novel by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Burrows.
When I first saw that title, I thought, “Oh god, did Kate say to herself, ‘You know, I haven’t done anything twee lately’?” I assumed it was one of those dreadful “group of women wistfully working out their love problems while reading middlebrow books” type of novels. It looks a little better than that, though–here’s the description from Amazon:
“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
So at least it has Nazis in it, not just someone sitting there saying, “You know, I think I’m just like Elizabeth Bennett–and you’re my Mr. Darcy!”
Sadly, Shaffer was terminally ill as she was writing the book; Burrows, her niece helped her finish it. Shaffer died a few months before the novel was published. I hope she’d like the casting.
Winslet is in theaters now in “Carnage” and will be seen later this year in a bit in “Movie 43,” the collection of comedy shorts starring everyone. Branagh can be seen in “My Week with Marilyn.” By the way, yes, they did work together in Branagh’s ambitious complete “Hamlet,” with Winslet as Opelia and Branagh directing himself as the not so melancholy Dane.