Like many people, Maggie Gyllenhaal devoured Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, finding them deeply moving and thought-provoking. The experience inspired Gyllenhaal to read more of her books, which display the experiences and feelings of women in a way that feels deeply honest.

“Some of the things she says, I didn’t even know I felt until I heard her articulate them,” Gyllenhaal said during a Variety Streaming Room interview. “I think we’ve made an agreement not to talk about all sorts of things about our experience. And she broke that agreement. That really turned me on. It inspired me and I thought, ‘I want to get involved with her, and I want to make work like that that has effects like that on people and is dangerous.’”

Gyllenhaal, director of the Ferrante adaptation “The Lost Daughter,” was joined on the panel with the film’s stars Jessie Buckley and Olivia Colman. In a conversation moderated by Variety deputy awards and feature editor Jenelle Riley, the three discussed the film, how it examines themes of motherhood and the limited ways women are allowed to express their feelings, as well as the reaction they’ve received by people who connected with the film.

Colman, who plays the older version of main character Leda, said that she recommended Buckley as the actor for the younger version of the character after having seen her in the musical drama “Wild Rose.” While the two said they only had one phone call with each other to work out the accent for the character, Colman said that Gyllenhaal trusted them to develop performances that felt like the same person without instructing them to model their decisions after one another.

“I feel like maybe Jessie and I do have a sort of kindred something,” Colman said.

“A little bit of naughtiness,” Buckley added, laughing.

“The Lost Daughter” is currently playing in select theaters and streaming on Netflix.