Lena Dunham To Write Young Adult Adaptation Catherine, Called Birdy


Girls creator and star Lena Dunham has signed on to write an adaptation of Karen Cushman’s award-winning YA novel, Catherine, Called Birdy. Known for her acerbic and brilliantly-realized insights into twenty-something women, Dunham is changing tack by addressing an altogether different demographic this time around.

The report comes from Variety (via /Film), who say the actress revealed the news herself at the New Yorker festival.

“I’m going to adapt Catherine, Called Birdy and hopefully direct it,” she told the crowd. “I just need to find someone who wants to fund a PG-13 medieval movie.”

One person already onboard to assist in that process is Girls executive producer Jenni Konner. At this stage it’s just Konner and Dunham who are developing the adaptation, and it sounds like it’s going to be a realistic dose of adolescent womanly experience.

Here’s the plot in Dunham’s words:

[She] gets her period and her father basically says, ‘Well, it’s time for you to get married,’ and she’s like, ‘Uh, no.’ But it’s hyper realistic and really pretty and it’s full of incest and beatings, but it’s a child’s story. I’ve been obsessed with it since I was a kid.

That’s some synopsis, and who better to handle the material than Dunham? She never shies away from the awkward embarrassments that all women face! In fact, she’s forged a career from that very subject. After Tiny Furniture, I was blown away by Dunham’s attention to detail, but a bit turned off by the fact that her characters are only ever offered bleak choices. In that regard, it’ll be interesting to see how this upcoming adaptation will transform on the big screen. Here’s hoping Catherine takes the path of most resistance and emerges as a true warrior!

Feast your eyes on the official book blurb below, and let us know if you think Lena Dunham is the perfect fit for Catherine, Called Birdy.

Catherine’s mother wants to teach her the skills of the lady of the manor and to prepare her to be a gentle and patient wife. Her father wants only to see her married off, and profitably. Catherine herself hopes to become a painter, a Crusader, a maker of songs, a peddler, a minstrel, a monk, a wart charmer… Of all the possibilities, she has ruled out only one: being sold like cheese to the highest bidder.

Against a vivid background of everyday life on a medieval English manor, Catherine’s earthy, spirited account of her fourteenth year is a richly entertaining story with an utterly unforgettable heroine.