Fossils, Filming and Fiction – Filming Ammonite in Lyme Regis
There’s a buzz in the air around Lyme Regis.
A few weeks ago Kate Winslet was “spotted”.
The rumours were true. A film crew was coming to town. Not just any old film crew – we’ve seen Escape to the County and Flog It. No this is the real deal. Adverts for extras appeared on the local Facebook pages and the little car park at the bottom of Broad Street was commandeered by a large container and a fake wall appeared.
Local press and photographers have been out in force as a small section of the town by the Bell Cliff has had the clock turned back.
Lights, Camera, Action.
Look out the paps are in town!
The film is called Ammonite and is loosely based on the life of Mary Anning, who as a girl (with her brother) found fossils on the beaches and cliffs around Lyme Regis, selling them to help support her poor family. Later her discoveries went beyond pretty ammonites, and included the first whole ichthyosaur skeleton.
She became a well known and influential person in geological circles. Sadly though, she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions in a world dominated by men in the early 19th Century.
Of course, Holywood is adding a twist to the film with the introduction of a love interest, the young actress Saoirse Ronan (pronounce Sur-sha). The story has already been the topic of conversation around the town. One distant relative of Mary Anning even had the newspapers on her doorstep after she criticised the plot on a local Facebook page. In fairness she never married, however it seems a shame that having since been recognised as such an influential historic woman (although vastly underrated at the time) there is not enough of a story to tell.
To anyone who is familiar with Lyme Regis, then you will have to wait a while to see the little shop at the end of Broad Street (transformed into Anning’s Fossils and Curios) on the big screen – these things do take ages before they are ready for the world to see. Filming has also been taking place on Eype Beach and scenes will be shot on the iconic Cobb.
Photos on this post are from local photographers Richer Austin and Becca Overton.
Spotlight on Lyme Regis
Overall most local people are delighted that a spot light is shining on our little corner of the South West. Lyme Regis was brought to the attention of the world nearly 40 years ago when Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons stared in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The town has been living off this notoriety for many years.
For the younger generation it’s great that a new film will be in their memories. Stories of stars being served coffee and spotted across the area are sure to keep film alive until it’s release. Now what would be really fantastic was if the old cinema (that was destroyed by fire nearly three years ago ) could be rebuilt in time for it’s preview.
Lyme Regis is just 15 minutes (8 miles) from Andrewshayes Holiday Park. It has lots of lovely independent shops, a large pebble beach as well as a sandy section. The seafront is lovely for walking along, with pretty beach huts and the iconic Cobb Wall around the pretty harbour. Of course there are fossils to be found as well!