Biel extols 'Virtue' for Endgame

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Jessica Biel has been cast as the lead in the romantic comedy "Easy Virtue," based on the Noel Coward play, for London-based Ealing Studios.

Endgame Entertainment is financing the indie project.

Biel plays an American divorcee who travels to the South of France and marries a young Englishman, played by Ben Barnes, on the spur of the moment. The couple return to England to face his family, including his parents, played by Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Stephan Elliott is directing the film from a screenplay he and Sheridan Jobbins penned. Ealing's Barnaby Thompson is producing. Principal photography starts next week in London.

"Stephan is a terrific director," Endgame CEO James D. Stern said. "It's a great cast and I'm just charged up and optimistic about it.

"It's a funny, lovely movie with a point," he added.

"Easy Virtue" is based on Coward's 1924 three-act play of the same name.

Alfred Hitchcock was the first to adapt it in film, with the 1928 silent movie "Easy Virtue."

Biel's credits include last summer's "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry." She recently wrapped "Powder Blue" with Forest Whitaker and "A Woman of No Importance" with Annette Benning.

Firth's recent films include "St. Trinian's" for Ealing Studios. He recently wrapped "Accidental Husband" with Uma Thurman, slated for a spring release and "Mamma Mia" with Meryl Streep, set for release in the summer.

Scott Thomas can currently be seen in "The Golden Compass" and in the upcoming "The Other Boleyn Girl" with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.

Barnes' credits include "Stardust," and he will next be seen in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," playing the prince.

Biel, Scott Thomas and Firth are repped by CAA. Biel is also represented by Management 360 and attorney Karl Austen.

Firth and Scott Thomas are also repped by Independent Talent in London.

Barnes is repped by ICM.
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