If Burial Rites makes it in front of cameras, expect it to generate a lot of awards attention before anyone even sees it. Variety reports that Luca Guadagnino, who is currently earning raves for his outstanding romance Call Me by Your Name, is set to direct Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence in a period drama that takes place in 1830 Iceland and follows a woman who’s set to be publically executed.
Per Variety, “The film draws on Hannah Kent’s 2013 novel of the same name, and centers on Agnes Magnusdottir (Lawrence), the last woman to be publicly executed in Iceland in 1830. Agnes was sentenced to death for killing two men and setting fire to their home. The story takes place as Agnes awaits confirmation of her death sentence by the high court, a period of time that finds her reluctantly forging emotional and romantic bonds, while reflecting on her supposed crimes.” Magnusdottir was a real person, and her story was previously the basis for the 1995 Icelandic film Agnes.
However, Burial Rites won’t be the next project we see from either Guadagnino or Lawrence. Guadagnino recently wrapped his remake of Suspiria, which will likely hit theaters sometime next year. As for Lawrence, after starring in the weirdness that was mother!, she’ll return in more audience-friendly fare next year with the spy thriller Red Sparrow and as Mystique in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Here’s the synopsis for Kent’s novel:
Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question: How can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?