Colin Firth signs on to 'Dorian Gray'

Will star in retelling of Oscar Wilde classic

Colin Firth has signed on to star opposite Ben Barnes in "Dorian Gray," the retelling of the Oscar Wilde classic being directed by Oliver Parker.

Based on "The Picture of Dorian Gray," the story centers on Gray (Barnes), a young man who becomes the subject of a painting. As the man descends into a hedonistic lifestyle, the portrait begins to age and morph, but he doesn't.

Firth will play Lord Henry Wotton, the aristocrat who corrupts Gray with his worldview. (He is sometimes called Harry in the novel.)

Ealing Studios is behind the adaptation, which is being produced by Barnaby Thompson. At May's Festival de Cannes, Thompson said Parker plans to make a visceral, dark horror story and said the themes of stardom are as relevant as ever.

The movie began shooting this week.

Firth stars in the hit musical "Mamma Mia!" and next appears in Michael Winterbottom's "Genova" and Ealing Studios' "Easy Virtue," both of which will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Firth, repped by CAA, also has wrapped Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture "A Christmas Carol" opposite Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman.