Daisy Ridley Dives Into Disney+ Drama 'The Young Woman and the Sea'

Daisy Ridley is about to make a splash with her next project under Disney, a true-story drama about the first woman to swim across the English Channel, Young Woman and the Sea. Ridley is set to star in the Disney+ feature film as Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle, who made the 21-mile swim in 1926 and set a record that stood for 81 years.

Deadline reports that Daisy Ridley is in talks to star in the Disney live-action film Young Woman and the Sea, which will be directed by Joachim Rønning (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) and written by Jeff Nathanson (2019’s The Lion King). The film will be based on the book by Glenn Stout, which chronicles the amazing journey of the first woman to ever swim across the English Channel. It will produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman, is intended for a Disney+ release. Nathanson is also set as executive producer.

The project is Nathanson’s baby, having first come to the story when he found the memoir and was determined to bring it to the big screen — similar to his process with Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, which Nathanson co-wrote. The Young Woman and the Sea bounced around studios for a while, first coming to Paramount, before studio turnaround landed it in Disney’s lap, where Bruckheimer brought it after having produced the Pirates of the Caribbean films. From there, everything came together — Rønning had directed 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which Nathanson wrote, and the two of them were paired again for The Young Woman and the Sea.

Here is the description of the story of Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle, per Deadline:

The daughter of a German butcher from Manhattan, Ederle was a competitive swimmer who won gold in the 1924 Olympics when she decided to attempt crossing the channel. She undertook the feat after first swimming 22 miles from Battery Park in New York to Sandy Hook, NJ, setting a record that stood for 81 years. She contracted with two newspapers and sold her story, thereby financing her quest. There was actually a race among women who would be first to cross as only five men had done so before.

She did it with help from her family: with sister Meg, she constructed a two-piece swimsuit — unheard of in the 1920s when skirt lengths were below the knee and ordinary swimsuits looked like summer dresses. They also used candle wax to seal her goggles to make them leak-proof. All this helped only so much as she struggled against waves, winds and treacherous waters to become world famous when she reached shore. She had shattered centuries of female stereotypes and was given a ticker-tape parade upon her return to New York, where 2 million cheered her. Her feat was largely forgotten soon after, as the world moved on.

Ridley has been landing high-profile films like Murder on the Orient Express and Chaos Walking since wrapping her breakout role in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, but none have earned her as much attention as Rey. Disney is clearly eager to work with the young star again, and Ridley may do well under so big a platform as Disney+. An inspirational biopic doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it sounds like a juicy role for Ridley, at least.

The film is set to start production in the second half of 2021.

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