Two join cast of Frears' 'Cheri'

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Rupert Friend will romance Michelle Pfeiffer under the watchful eye of Kathy Bates in Stephen Frears' French period drama "Cheri."

Friend will play the title character, and Bates is in final negotiations to play his mother, Madame Peloux, a famed courtesan in 1920s France. Peloux sends the spoiled Cheri to her courtesan pal Lea de Lonval (Pfeiffer) for an adult education, but their six-year affair comes to a painful end when he's forced to marry a wealthy young woman.

Miramax and Pathe will distribute the adaptation of French writer Colette's provocative 1920 novel with producers Bill Kenwright and Thom Mount.

Friend is no stranger to period romances, having captured the heart of Keira Knightley in "Pride & Prejudice" and soon to be seen courting Emily Blunt as Prince Albert in "The Young Victoria."

Bates played the unsinkable Molly Brown in "Titanic." She currently can be seen torturing James Caan in a DirecTV commercial parody of her Oscar-winning "Misery" role.

"Cheri" will reunite "Dangerous Liaisons" partners Pfeiffer, Frears and screenwriter Christopher Hampton.

Friend is repped by Endeavor and U.K.-based Independent Talent Group. Bates is repped by ICM and the Susan Smith Co.
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