While still relatively unknown on this side of the Atlantic, Swale’s star in the British theater world has been rising since 2013 when her first play, “Blue Stockings,” was staged at Shakespeare’s Globe. Her next play, “Nell Gwynn,” won an Olivier Award and its West End run featured Gemma Arterton (“Quantum of Solace”) in the title role. Arterton also stars in Swale’s upcoming feature-length writing and directing debut, “Summerland,” which tells the story of a reclusive writer following the Blitz in World War II.
“It’s a story about folklore, love and magic,” says Swale. “It’s primarily a drama but it’s also funny.”
Swale approached the challenge of leaping from theater to film by finding common ground between the two. “Essentially, a director is a storyteller. Your role is to tell stories as clearly as possible.” She laughs that with film, after getting the desired performance, it’s in the can, but in the theater, “you come back six weeks later and say, ‘Where did that performance come from?’”
Her work has a distinct, but not heavy-handed female focus. “One of the joys of the work that I’m doing is writing for women and writing to reflect the diversity of the world as we see it.”
Her short film “Leading Lady Parts,” featuring top talent such as Emilia Clarke, Lena Heady, Arterton, Felicity Jones, Florence Pugh, Gemma Chan and Tom Hiddleston, went viral upon its 2018 release with 12 million views within a week of airing.
Her slate is only getting busier, with upcoming projects including screenplays for “Nell Gwynn” for Working Title, “Persuasion” for Fox Searchlight; “Longbourn” for Studio Canal/Monumental, an original romantic comedy for Blue Print/Studio Canal, “Horrible Histories: The Movie,” and a television series for Monumental based on her play “Blue Stockings.”
Representation: Agency: Mcnaughton Lord Representation (U.K.), Gersh (U.S.)
Influences: Emma Thompson, Richard Curtis