Academy-award winning actress-singer-songwriter-producer-director Barbra Streisand will helm. Streisand last took the director’s chair 20 years ago (The Mirror Has Two Faces). She made her directorial debut with Yentl in 1983 which garnered 5 Oscar nominations and won for Best Score, followed up by Prince of Tides in 1991 which garnered 7 Oscar noms. Kristina Lauren Anderson penned the script, which was atop the 2014 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. The official logline reads: “Sophia Augusta takes control of her life, her marriage, and her kingdom becoming Russia’s most celebrated and beloved monarch: Catherine the Great.” Gil Netter, who was behind the Oscar-nominated The Blind Side and Life of Pi, has signed on to produce.
The story will focus on Catherine’s marriage to an abusive Emperor Peter III and her later rise to power after his assassination. Born to German royalty, Catherine ruled the Russian empire from 1762 until 1796.
Knightley is not new to period films, having starred in Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice (for which she received one of her two Oscar nominations) and Anna Karenina, Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur, and Saul Dibb’s The Duchess. Her next project is Collateral Beauty with Will Smith. She is also slated to star in Colette, a biopic about the French novelist who wrote Gigi, on which the 1958 multi-Oscar-winning musical film of the same name was based. Colette was a hot title at EFM this month, with sales agent Hanway Films selling out the project in Berlin.
We will keep you posted as developments arise on Catherine the Great.