Carey Mulligan, reports Deadline, is in talks to star in “The Fury,” a movie about the British suffragist movement that was originally titled “Suffragettes.” It has been scripted by Abi Morgan, whose film “Brick Lane” was a bona fide feminist drama and whose “The Iron Lady” was not.
Morgan also co-wrote “Shame,” which co-starred Mulligan as the sex addict protagonist’s suicidal sister, and adapted the upcoming “The Invisible Woman” from Claire Tomalin’s biography of Ellen Ternan (Felicity Jones), who was an 18-year-old actress when she became the secret mistress of Charles Dickens. Ralph Fiennes, who directed the film, plays Dickens.
“Brick Lane” helmer Sarah Gavron will direct “The Fury.” The Playlist announced in April 2011 that the film will be an ensemble drama. It has not been disclosed if Mulligan would play a fictional character or a real person. At 28, she is theoretically too young to play Emmeline Pankhurst, 40 when she founded the all-women suffrage organization the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1898, or Emily Davison, 4o when she became the movement’s martyr. Pankhurst’s daughters, Christabel (born 1880) and Sylvia (born 1882), both prominent suffragists, would be intriguing possibilities for Mulligan.
A potentially crucial movie, “The Fury” can scarcely avoid replicating, or including, one of the most important slivers of film in existence. One hundred years ago last month, a Pathé newsreel camera photographed Davison stepping onto the racetrack of the Epsom Derby in Surrey where she was struck by King George V’s horse, Anmer.
A militant suffragist who had been jailed nine times for violently protesting for women’s right to vote, Davison is believed to have been attempting to pin a WSPU flag on the horse rather than to kill herself. However, she died of a fractured skull and internal injuries four days later, on June 8, 1913. British women over 30 were finally granted the right to vote in 1918, those over 21 in 1928 — 56 years after the suffrage campaign began.
No footage exists of Gavrilo Princip shooting Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his pregnant wife, Sophie, a year afterward. It’s fair to say, therefore, that the horrific images of Davison’s collision with Anmer were, 50 years before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Zapruder footage of the world going up in flames in 1914.
A poignant footnote to Davison’s fatal protest was its effect on Anmer’s jockey, Herbert Jones, a British Triple Crown winner, who was mildly concussed in the accident. “Haunted by that poor woman’s face,” as he said, he laid a wreath “to do honour to the memory of Mrs. Pankhurst and Miss Emily Davison” at the former’s funeral in 1928. In 1951, he committed suicide in a gas-filled kitchen. Nearly 700 years after the first Parliament, he may have been the last indirect victim of non-enfranchisement.