Bella Ramsey is heading back to court in star-studded new period drama Monstrous Beauty

Bella Ramsey

The Bella Ramsey takeover is officially underway as The Last of Us star prepares to take on their next role in gripping new period drama Monstrous Beauty.

Hot on the heels of their acclaimed turn in HBO’s hit series The Last of Us, Bella Ramsey has landed their next role in upcoming period drama Monstrous Beauty – and it’s got awards season recognition written all over it.

Written and directed by Romola Garai (Atonement, The Hour), the new film sees Ramsey take the lead as aspiring playwright Barbara Field in the court of King Charles II, who suffers from a rare condition that means she is entirely covered in hair (known as hypertrichosis).

Per Deadline, the Ramsey will be joined by a star-studded cast including The Crown star Dominic West as King Charles II, Academy Award-nominee Ruth Negga as his mistress Nell Gwyn, and Killing Eve actor and lesbian icon Fiona Shaw as Aphra Behn, a pioneer in the Western literary world and the first published female playwright in history.

Co-stars Ruth Negga (L) and Fiona Shaw (R).
Co-stars Ruth Negga (L) and Fiona Shaw (R). (Getty)

“Set in the 17th Century, Monstrous Beauty is the story of a unique young woman, Barbara Field (Ramsey), born into poverty with a rare condition that means she is entirely covered in hair,” reads the official synopsis.

“Given the precious gift of an education, she is offered the opportunity of a place in the luxurious and decadent court of King Charles II (West), as a “Natural Wonder” where people with extraordinary appearances mix with the aristocracy.

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“Fuelled by the desire to be defined for who she is rather than how she looks, Barbara aspires to become a playwright under the auspices of famous actress Nell Gwyn (Negga), powerful mistress to the King. Nell herself is intent on teaching Charles a public lesson on the true appreciation of women beyond their physical appearance. Barbara seeks the help of famous playwright of the day, Aphra Behn (Shaw), and casts beautiful actor Vale (the object of Barbara’s own desire) as the lead, despite his lack of talent.

“But will Barbara succeed in becoming a woman of independent means whilst challenging a highly patriarchal society, and become master of her own destiny?”

The Last of Us
Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us (HBO)

Although this is Ramsey’s first role since The Last of Us, in which they played queer teen Ellie alongside Pedro Pascal‘s hardened survivor Joel, it’s not the first time the actor has travelled back in time to navigate a hostile and complex court. Ramsey made their professional acting debut in HBO’s cultural behemoth Game of Thrones where they played fierce young noblewoman Lyanna Mormont, the Lady of Bear Island, from seasons six to eight.

In recent years, Ramsey has also shown their period drama prowess after starring in sapphic witch trial short film Requiem, the 2022 series Becoming Elizabeth, and, of course, Lena Dunham’s medieval comedy Catherine Called Birdy.

Fans are already sharing their excitement about Ramsey’s latest role.

“Exactly the kind of raw, unique role that they can really sink their teeth into and do beautiful work with,” one fan wrote.

Ramsey is indeed booked and busy, as HBO confirmed The Last of Us will return for a second season where they will reprise their role.

There is currently no information on a release date for Monstrous Beauty, but filming is tipped to begin in September 2023.

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