MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” based on Karen Dionne’s bestselling novel, is set to be released in theaters on Friday.
“The Marsh King’s Daughter” is a psychological thriller that follows a woman with a secret past. She ventures into the wilderness she left behind to confront the most dangerous man she’s ever met: her father.
“At the core of ‘The Marsh King’s Daughter’ is Helena’s, as I call it, push-pull relationship with her father,” Dionne said. “For those who aren’t familiar with the book, Helena grows up in a cabin, on a ridge surrounded by marsh or swamp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the Tahquamenon River Valley, and during for 12 years she sees no one except her mother and father. So, she loves her life. She’s a little tomboy, she adores her father. You could even say she worships her father. So, she has this intense love for him when she’s growing up. Then she finds out when she’s 12 the reason that they live like that is her father kidnapped her mother when her mother was a teenager, and she’s the product of that crime.”
When her father escapes from prison, Helena knows her father is coming for her.
“She has to use the hunting and tracking skills that she learned from him when she was a child to find him before he can find her,” Dionne said.
“The Marsh King’s Daughter” is directed by Neil Burger, who also directed films such as “Divergent” and “The Illusionist.” The film stars Daisy Ridley, who portrayed Rey in the “Star Wars” Sequel Trilogy. Although the book is set in the Upper Peninsula, the film was shot in Toronto, Canada, and remote portions of northern Ontario.
“For one thing, the producers promised me that they would be looking for locations that were very similar to the Upper Peninsula. And so, the, what they found is indeed, like the Upper Peninsula, because here’s the thing, you know, geographically, there’s a band of this cut, same kind of force that goes all the way around the Earth. So as long as you’re at roughly the same latitude, you could be in Russia or so many other places, and it would still look like the Upper Peninsula. So, it definitely does,” Dionne said.
“And I think the locations that they found, I understand were so remote, that it required a 20-minute boat ride for cast crew equipment. That was one video, a short clip that the director posted to Instagram, showing them lowering equipment by helicopter. So, I feel like they went to great lengths to find an authentic setting for the book, and I think Michigan folks are really going to like it,” she said.
Dionne drew from her homesteading adventures in the Upper Peninsula to write “The Marsh King’s Daughter.”
“My husband and I moved to the U.P. in the 1970s as a young married couple to homestead and we lived in a tent we built our little cabin, we carried our water from a stream and so when I was ready, ‘The Marsh King’s Daughter’, I’m writing about a family that lives entirely off the grid. And then we moved to the Upper Peninsula because we’ve wanted to, to get feel closer to nature. And so, being able to write a character who also feels close to nature, who loves the Upper Peninsula, there were so many times when I was writing the novel, I thought to myself you know, that particular detail that I had just included? I never would have found that no matter how much I researched, it’s just something that I knew because I lived in the Upper Peninsula, and I love it so much.”
“The Marsh King’s Daughter” hits theaters on Friday.