Christopher Eccleston and Daisy Ridley Team Up for Disney+ Film 'Young Woman and the Sea'

(Photo: Credit: HBO/20th Century Studios.)
(Photo: Credit: HBO/20th Century Studio.)

Streaming service Disney+ doesn't have a ton of content of particular interest to fans of British TV at the moment—unless you count Tom Hiddleston's turn in Loki—but like its compatriot Apple TV+, it's slowly starting to greenlight more directly Anglophile friendly projects. One of the more interesting things in the works is Young Woman and the Sea, a historical biopic set to dramatize the life of Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle, who became the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926. 

The daughter of German immigrants, Ederle was part of the U.S. swim team that won gold at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris in the 4x100 relay, and she took home a pair of bronze medals in individual events. She turned professional in 1925, and that same year she successfully swam the 22 miles from Battery Park, New York to Sandy Hook, New Jersey and set a record that would stand for 81 years. It was, as her nephew later described it, her "warm-up" for her Channel swim.

The film is based on the 1958 book of the same name by Glenn Stout and will star Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Trudy. It will also feature former Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston in an as-yet-undisclosed role, alongside Tilda Cobham-Hervey (Lone Wolf) and Stephen Graham (Time).


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Eccleston is likely best known to American audiences for his time on Doctor Who, but he had a memorable role as pastor Matt Jamison on the HBO drama The  Leftovers. He was most recently seen opposite Connie Nielsen in the Sundance Now domestic thriller Close to Me and has several intriguing projects in the works including an upcoming Oliver Twist prequel series called Dodger

Though there's no word yet on who, exactly, he'll be playing in this film, are a couple of solid options, including Trudy's father Henry (who's actually the person who taught her to swim) and Bill Burgess, the coach who trained her for second (successful) Channel attempt. (My money's on the latter, personally. The mentor angle just feels like a great fit for him as an actor.)

Young Woman and the Sea is written by longtime Disney contributor Jeff Nathanson. It's directed by Joachim Rønning, with Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman serving as executive producers. The production team behind the film represents a Disney reunion of sorts, as all three were involved in the same roles on the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel Dead Men Tell No Tales.

There’s still no release date yet this film as yet, but it's expected at some point in 2023.