The pair play lovers in the forthcoming film, with Winslet starring as the real-life palaeontologist Mary Anning, and Ronan as the married geologist she becomes romantically involved with.
Winslet has revealed that she and Ronan choreographed their sex scenes themselves, rather than director Francis Lee, with the Oscar winner revealing that she had never felt prouder.
“It’s definitely not like eating a sandwich,” Winslet told The Hollywood Reporter. “I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe. Francis was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, ‘Listen, let us work it out.’ And we did. ‘We’ll start here. We’ll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.’
“I mean, we marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative. I felt the proudest I’ve ever felt doing a love scene on Ammonite. And I felt by far the least self-conscious.”
Winslet also revealed that she eschewed a body double for the scenes, determining that it was important to show a natural, post-motherhood physique.
“I’m nearly 45, and Saoirse is almost half my age,” she explained. “And to have an opportunity to be my real 40-something self, post-children, you know? Women aren’t really having the courage to do that. I was just excited to say, ‘This is what it is, peeps. This is how I am now, and it’s very much not the body I had 20 years ago.’”
While Winslet is already drawing Oscar buzz for her performance, the film has encountered controversy over its depiction of Anning. Some of Anning’s living relatives have disputed the film’s portrayal of her relationship with Murchison, arguing that Anning’s sexuality was unconfirmed.
Lee, however, defended the storyline on social media last year, writing: “After seeing queer history be routinely ‘straightened’ throughout culture, and given a historical figure where there is no evidence whatsoever of a heterosexual relationship, is it not permissible to view that person within another context...?”
Ammonite’s UK release date has yet to be announced, but it will close the 64th BFI London Film Festival on 17 October, with tickets on sale from 21 September.