Keira Knightley is in advanced talks to play the titular leading role in “Colette,” a biopic about the French novelist famous for “Gigi” and “Cheri.” The producing team behind this year’s “Carol” is on board as well.
Deadline reports that the film will be directed by Wash Westmoreland, who is known for his film “Still Alice.” Westmoreland co-wrote the screenplay with Richard Glatzer, who also worked on “Still Alice.” Filming is set to begin in May in Budapest.
Pam Koffler and Christine Vachon (“Carol,” “Still Alice”) will produce through Killer Films, as well as Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley (“Carol”) for Number 9 Films. Bold Films’ (“Nightcrawler,” “Whiplash”) Michel Litvek is producing as well.
Much like “Carol,” “Colette” will follow the tale of a strong female character who has to deal with sexuality, as well as societal taboos. Screen Daily reports that the film will focus on Colette’s (born Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette) marriage to Willy Gauthier-Villars, who was 14 years older than Colette. He introduced the writer to the “avant-garde intellectual and artistic circles while engaging in sexual affairs and encouraging Colette’s own lesbian dalliances.”
Colette and Willy later separated, but her independence would inspire some of her most well received works. Her works frequently explored women’s independence in a male society. Although she went on to have relationships with other women, she ended up marrying Henry de Jouvenal, the editor of Le Matin, a few years after her first divorce was finalized.
Speaking of the film, producer Michel Litvek told Screen Daily, “Colette is also a female driven story, with a world class actress in the eponymous role and a gifted director at its helm.”
He continued, “Keira Knightley is impeccably suited to step into the role of the iconic Colette who, in the early 1900s, pushed the envelope in a time when women writers were shunned and bisexuality was scandalous. We are honored to bring her story to the big screen.”
No word yet on when the film will be released.