Keira Knightley in Talks to Star in Biopic 'Colette' From 'Carol' Producers

Keira Knightley Therese Raquin Opening H 2015
Greg Allen/Invision/AP

Keira Knightley Therese Raquin Opening H 2015

HanWay will be introducing the project about the famed French novelist, best known for 'Gigi,' to buyers in Berlin.

The award-winning production and sales team behind Carol has lined up another historical drama, with Keira Knightley in advanced talks to take the lead role.

Colette – from Number 9 Films and Killer Films – will tell the story of iconic French writer Colette, who wrote Gigi and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. Wash Westmoreland will direct from a script he co-wrote with his partner and Still Alice co-director, the late Richard Glatzer.

Bold Films, which backed Oscar-nominated films Nightcrawler and Whiplash, will finance and co-produce the English-language title, marking the company’s first foray into the U.K. Killer Films' Pam Koffler and Christine Vachon will produce alongside Number 9's Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley and Bold Films' chairman Michel Litvak. Bold CEO Gary Michael Walters will executive produce.

Filming on Colette is due to start in May in Budapest. HanWay, which has seen its titles Carol, Brooklyn and Anomalisa pick up Oscar nominations, is repping international sales and will introduce the film to buyers in Berlin later this month.

“We are delighted to be working on this our third collaboration between Number 9 and Killer, following in the wake of the tremendous success of both the six-time Oscar nominated Carol and Mrs Harris," said Karlsen and Kofflet. "Colette is also female-driven story, with a world-class actress in the eponymous role and a gifted director at its helm."

Litvak said Knightley was "impeccably suited" to step into the role of Colette, adding that he was honored to bring to the screen the story of a woman "who in the early 1900s pushed the envelope in a time when women writers were shunned and bisexuality was scandalous."

One of France's foremost writers, Colette rose to fame at the turn of the 20th century after it emerged that she had been writing novels published under the name of her first husband and renowned Parisian libertine, "Willy" Gauthier-Villers. After separating, Colette would rise to become widely acclaimed, publishing Cheri in 1920 and, while living through the Nazi occupation, her most famous work, Gigi, in 1944. Truman Capote wrote a short story about her, The White Rose, while Gigi would see several stage and screen adaptations.