Swapping glass slippers for a bathing costume, news arrives via Variety that Cinderella star Lily James has now signed up to head the cast of The Young Woman And The Sea. She will play the swimmer Gertrude Ederle in a biopic based on the book by Glenn Stout. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the film for Paramount Pictures, and has tasked Jeff Nathanson (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) with the screenplay.
Ederle was the first woman ever to swim the English Channel – still a rarer achievement than scaling Everest. The American teenager completed the impressive feat in 1926, two years after winning gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics. She returned to the US one of the most famous women in the world, cheered through a tickertape parade in New York by an estimated crowd of 2 million people. But she disappeared from the public eye just as quickly. After playing herself in the film Swim Girl, Swim (1927) she embarked on an abortive career in vaudeville, and after a fall that damaged her spine, ended up teaching swimming to children. She died in 2003, aged 98.
Following Downton Abbey and Cinderella, James has been busy. She can currently be seen in Burnt alongside Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) and stars as Elizabeth Bennet in the forthcoming Pride And Prejudice And Zombies. She has also just completed filming a new mini-series of Tolstoy's epic War And Peace, is currently filming The Kaiser's Last Kiss, and will follow that with Edgar Wright's (The World's End) Baby Driver with Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Ansel Elgort (Carrie) and Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained).
The Young Woman And The Sea then, is some way off – and whether it retains the book's Hemingway riffing title remains to be seen. Burnt, meanwhile, is out now.