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Illustration for article titled Maggie Gyllenhaal recruits Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson for her directorial debut
Photo: Brian Ach (Getty Images)

Seemingly fulfilling the promise of her character arc on The Deuce, Maggie Gyllenhaal is (finally, gloriously) transitioning behind the camera. Per Deadline, Gyllenhaal is set to make her directorial debut with The Lost Daughter, based on her own screenplay adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s 2008 novel of the same name. In addition to directing and scripting, Gyllenhaal will produce the project via her Pie Films banner (which also backed The Kindergarten Teacher). The actress has recruited a trio of amazing performers for her debut: Oscar-winner Olivia Colman will head up a cast that also includes Dakota Johnson and Peter Sarsgaard (who happens to be married to Gyllenhaal).

The Lost Daughter centers on Leda (Colman), an accomplished college professor whose two daughters have gone to Canada to be with their father. Suddenly free from the constraints and demands of motherhood, Leda travels to Italy for a seaside vacation. The novel’s official synopsis continues:

But after a few days of calm and quiet, things begin to take a menacing turn. Leda encounters a family whose brash presence proves unsettling, at times even threatening. When a small, seemingly meaningless, event occurs, Leda is overwhelmed by memories of the difficult and unconventional choices she made as a mother and their consequences for herself and her family. The apparently serene tale of a woman’s pleasant rediscovery of herself soon becomes the story of a ferocious confrontation with an unsettled past.


(Raise your hand if you also just clicked “BUY NOW” on Amazon with the urgency of someone who suddenly remembered to order cat food at 2 a.m.) In an official statement, Gyllenhaal elaborated on her decision to make her directorial debut with an adaptation of Ferrante’s novel:

When I finished reading Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter, I felt that something secret and true had been said out loud. And I was both disturbed and comforted by that. I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theatre, with other people around. And I set to work on this adaptation. I find that the script has attracted other people interested in exploring these secret truths about motherhood, sexuality, femininity, desire. And I’m thrilled to continue my collaboration with such brave and exciting actors and filmmakers.

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