The Oscar-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence will reportedly star in and produce the upcoming film adaptation of the Australian author Hannah Kent’s award-winning 2013 novel, Burial Rites. Kent’s novel is based on the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland in 1830.
A farm worker, Magnúsdóttir was sentenced to death for her part in the murder of two men and, due to the structure of the Icelandic legal system, spent her last days at an isolated farmhouse with a family of upstanding citizens watching over her. Kent’s novel reimagines the story of these final months before Magnúsdóttir’s execution.
Lawrence will play Magnúsdóttir in the film adaptation, Variety reports, which will be produced by TriStar Pictures. The American actor and star of the Hunger Games films and Silver Linings Playbook will be directed by Italian Luca Guadagnino, whose film Call Me By Your Name has been nominated for three Golden Globe awards.
Kent expressed her enthusiasm for the casting choice on social media, saying on Twitter that Lawrence was “a tremendous talent”. The story of Magnúsdóttir has previously been made into a film for Icelandic audiences, 1995’s Agnes, which starred Icelandic actors Maria Ellingsen and Baltasar Kormákur.
Burial Rites was one of the most talked-about Australian novels of 2013. Guardian reviewer Sarah Moss called it “beautiful and compelling”, while Observer reviewer Lucy Scholes said it was “a simple but moving story, meticulously researched and hauntingly told”.
Kent’s second novel, The Good People, is set in a superstitious 19th century Irish village struggling to deal with a series of unexplained events.