In Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, Olivia Colman stars as Leda, a woman on a vacation who becomes consumed by a mother, played by Dakota Johnson, and her young daughter. She’s soon forced to “confront the secrets of her past,” as the official plot description reads. The Lost Daughter premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where it was greeted with overwhelming positive reviews — and Oscar buzz for Colman.
“I asked to direct it and to adapt it,” Gyllenhaal explained to Screen Daily about why she wanted to turn Elena Ferrante’s novel into a movie. “To be completely honest, there was a part of me that was afraid. I had never directed before. I hadn’t adapted a book before either. She almost sensed my fear and said, ‘I will give you the rights to adapt it. But all of this will be null and void unless you direct it.’ There was no going to her saying, ‘Could Jane Campion do it? Could Lucrecia Martel do it?’ She said it has to be me, which I took as a real vote of confidence. I needed that at the time.”
The Lost Daughter, which also stars Jessie Buckley, Peter Sarsgaard, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Paul Mescal, and Ed Harris, premieres on Netflix on December 31.