See you later, Brooklyn. For her newest project, Lena Dunham will explore a world far from the five boroughs in both space and time.
The "Girls" creator, producer, writer and actress will next turn her attentions to an adaptation of Karen Cushman's historical young adult novel, "Catherine, Called Birdy."
At an event as part of the New Yorker Festival in New York City Friday night (October 10), Dunham was asked about her upcoming projects by New Yorker staff writer Ariel Levy.
"This is actually my first time talking about it publicly," Dunham said. "I'm very excited about it. I'm not sure when it'll happen, but I'm in the process of -- I don't know if anyone here has read a book for young girls, it's 'Catherine, Called Birdy.' Has anyone here read that?"
Written in diary form, the book is the story of a young girl -- a "sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own," according to the publisher's synopsis -- trying to scare off potential husbands that her father deems suitable. And by "suitable," we mean rich.
In her own words, Dunham described Cushman's book as "really beautiful," with a plot about "a girl in 1290 who 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."
Dunham, whose films "Creative Nonfiction" and "Tiny Furniture," as well as the HBO series "Girls" and her new book of personal essays, "Not That Kind of Girl," deal with the angst and joys of the modern urban 20-something, said that the shift in time period and locale was a welcome but scary change.
"Obviously nothing I've done so far has required any research of any real kind beyond, like, going to a diner," Dunham said. "So this is a whole other world but the source material makes me so happy and I'm so excited [...] The idea of engaging with some of these topics that are important to me, which are -- surprise -- women and feminism, but finding a way to kind kind of look at them through a historical lens is sort of like where feel myself going."
Dunham will develop the project alongside her production partner Jenni Konner though their A Casual Romance Productions umbrella. She conceded that, "there's a lot that I don't understand" about historical pieces. This isn't the only historical piece we'll see out of the company, either.
"We're working on a number of projects that sort of aren't set in the here and now," Dunham said.
But just because the characters of "Catherine, Called Birdy" have never ridden the subway doesn't mean they'll be too far removed from Dunham's usual unflinching portrayal of young adulthood.
"There's no Brooklyn," said said, "no tattoos -- there might be semen. If there's semen, there's semen."