God’s Own Country director Francis Lee reuniting with Josh O’Connor for horror film about ‘class and queerness’

Josh O'Connor looks disgruntled as he looks on against green hills

God’s Own Country director Francis Lee and actor Josh O’Connor are making a queer period horror film that will explore “class and queerness”.

In a profile for Esquire, Lee revealed he is teaming up once more with O’Connor, who played struggling sheep farmer Johnny Saxby in the critically-acclaimed queer film, for a more spooky project.

O’Connor will star in the upcoming production, which the magazine described as “a horror movie with strong elements of ‘class and queerness’, about a sad young man alone in an epic wilderness”. Shooting dates remain uncertain due to the pandemic, and further details are sparse.

Lee, 50, has alluded to what will be his third feature title before. It’s an adaptation of a novel, but he’s refused to disclose which.

“My favourite genre is horror,” he said in 2020 to The Film Stage. “I’ve always wanted the opportunity to make a really, really f**king scary horror film.

“So I’m working on that.

“It’s about deep intimate human relationships, again,” Lee said of the film to Metro Weekly later that year.

“It’s a period piece. But it’s set in the 20th century. And it is a horror film. It is dealing with some fundamentals about being queer. And often not in a very positive way.

“So it will be really fascinating to talk about it when it’s done.”

Lee’s first feature, God’s Own Country, came out in 2017, and was followed by 2020’s Ammonite.

Both films focus on hardened, solitary lives set against vast, bleak landscapes: the beaten moors of Yorkshire, England, in God’s Own Country, or Ammonite‘s blustery and bitter Dorset coastlines.

Ammonite: First image of Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as lesbian lovers

Kate Winslet as Mary Anning and Saoirse Ronan as her lesbian lover in Ammonite.

Both films used such unforgiving, banal landscapes to explore and acknowledge class, gender and, of course, sexuality.

Ammonite was a story that Lee was told not to tell. The drama explored the speculated romance held between real-life palaeontologist Mary Anning and the wilting rosebud Charlotte Murchison.

In telling a lesbian romance, Lee faced pushback from Anning’s descendants and from some in the media. “I wasn’t making a biopic!” he defiantly told The Guardian.