Bella Ramsey to play one of UK’s most-wanted women in harrowing new film

Bella Ramsey poses for a photo in a blue suit.

The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey is to play Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the ‘White Widow’ and one of the world’s most-wanted terrorism suspects, in new film Girl Next Door.

Girl Next Door, which is helmed by Leave To Remain director Bruce Goodison, will go behind the shocking true story of infamous British terror suspect Lewthwaite – also known as Sherafiyah Lewthwaite – and her experience in the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings.

Lewthwaite, a mother who lived in Aylesbury, England, married Germaine Lindsay, also known as Abdullah Shaheed Jamal, in 2002. Three years later, he would go on to be one of the four Islamist terrorist attackers who blew up three London Underground trains and a bus on the morning of 7 July 2005.

Lewthwaite was 22 at the time, and had converted to Islam around five years earlier.

At the time, she proclaimed to have “never predicted or imagined that [Lindasy] was involved in such horrific activities”. As of 2024, she is a fugitive from justice in Kenya, wanted for being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony.

An Interpol 'red notice' for the arrest of 'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite.
An Interpol ‘red notice’ for the arrest of ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite. (Getty)

As per Deadline, director Goodison has said that Girl Next Door will be told “unapologetically” from “Sam’s perspective”.

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“This film is about a young life-affirming idealist with a broken heart. Sam turns her grief into a strength that was then exploited by men for purposes of global terror,” he said.

“I just didn’t believe the hype – was Sam really the terrorist mastermind the press and anti-terror police would have us believe, or was there another truth? Her truth.”

Goodison described Girl Next Door as an “unsettling mystery” that asks the question: how would we all feel “if the person you love and expect to share a life with goes out one day and commits an act of terror that challenges everything you hold dear”.

In preparation for the film, Goodison accessed Lewthwaite’s diaries, and spoke to people she knew, the secret services, and the journalist she spoke to following the London bombings.

“Anyone playing Sam needs to be fearless. Bella Ramsey is the perfect fit. Bella will bring heart, life and complexity to this role,” he added.

The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey gets candid about pressures of high-profile fame.
Bella Ramsey. (Getty)

Ramsey, who recently starred in BBC prison drama Time and is currently filming a sapphic romance in The Last of Us season two, is set to begin making Girl Next Door this autumn.

The star, who uses they/them pronouns, has also recently been announced to star in Harmonia, another true story drama, this time from Golda director Guy Nattiv.

Ramsey will play the daughter of Nattiv’s real-life grandmother Rita (played by Naomi Watts); according to the film’s synopsis, Rita will be “entranced by the mesmeric leader (Vicky Krieps) and renounces her family to embrace the world of the enigmatic Harmonia commune”.