Alessandro Nivola to star in 'Coco'

Starring opposite Audrey Tautou in the Chanel biopic

Alessandro Nivola will star opposite Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel's love in the Chanel biopic "Coco avant Chanel." Anne Fontaine is directing the French film, which is being produced by Philippe Carcassonne.

Nivola, who is learning French for the role and likely will be the only American in the film, will play Arthur Capel, a dashing polo player who sponsored the fashion designer, helping her open her first store and influencing her masculine suit designs. His death in a car crash was described as the most devastating event in Chanel's life.

Films Distribution Mercure is financing the film, which has no domestic distributor yet. A September start date is planned.

Nivola, repped by WMA and Management 360, appears in the ensemble comedy "Five Dollars a Day" and stars in the music biopic "Chess," both of which will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. He most recently appeared in the horror movie "The Eye."