We’re finally getting our first look at the Mary Shelley biopic starring Elle Fanning (Super 8, Maleficent) that has been in the works for at least two and a half years. Previously titled A Storm in the Stars, the film depicts the relationship between the 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft and poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, which eventually led to young Mary penning Frankenstein. (Thanks also to a volcanic eruption and some especially pesky moonlight, of course.) Now the project is known as just Mary Shelley, though it’s unclear if the title change means a shift in focus.
To that end, the first official image is of Mary, sitting at her mother Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s grave (she died just 10 days after giving birth) with notebook in hand. It’s a fitting visual and seems to be rooted in fact as opposed to just moviemaking whimsy. According to a 2015 interview with author Charlotte Gordon, who penned the dual biography Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley, the elder Mary’s gravesite was the younger Mary’s most special place: She learned to read in part by tracing the letters on her mother’s gravestone, and this was where she brought Percy when she scandalously declared her love for the married poet.
It will be interesting to see how much of this Mary Shelley pulls for its plot. The romantic drama also stars Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Percy Shelley, Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) as Mary’s step-sister Claire Clairmont, Tom Sturridge (The Hollow Crown) as her lover Lord Byron, and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, Doctor Who) as Mary’s close friend Isabel Baxter.
No release date has yet been set. And while the first announcement of Mary Shelley back in 2014 had it competing with another Shelley biopic starring Game of Thrones and X-Men: Apocalypse’s Sophie Turner, there’s been no update about the latter project.