Fresh off her Broadway run as the star of Thérèse Raquin, Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Olivier nominee Keira Knightley (Atonement, A Dangerous Method) is in talks 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. Deadline was the first to break the news.
Wash Westmoreland, who directed 2014’s Still Alice (which garnered star Julianne Moore an Oscar for lead actress last year) will helm. The screenplay was co-written by Westmoreland and the late Richard Glatzer, the same team who adapted the screenplay for Still Alice. The title will be produced by Number 9 Films and Killer Films, who previously teamed to produce last year’s Carol, currently nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Adapted Screenplay. Pam Koffler and Christine Vachon will produce for Killer Films while Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley will produce for Number 9 Films. Bold Films will finance and co-produce. HanWay Films will handle worldwide sales.
The film centers on the life of Colette (née Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, 1873-1954). She lived through both World Wars, and her Jewish husband was arrested (later released) by the Gestapo. Colette was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. At the height of her writing career, she was often hailed as France’s greatest female writer.
Knightley’s breakout turn in 2002’s Bend it Like Beckham opened the door to a varied career in mega-blockbusters (Pirates of the Caribbean series), period films (Anna Karenina, The Duchess), comedies (Love Actually, Laggies), and even a musical (Begin Again). She was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her lead role as Elizabeth Bennett in Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice, and for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in The Imitation Game opposite Benedict Cumberbatch. She was most recently seen on the big screen in last year’s Everest.
Colette will begin shooting in May in Budapest.