Keira Knightley eyes 'Damned'

Nick Cassavetes will direct the period love story

Nick Cassavetes has signed on to direct "The Beautiful and the Damned," the Film Department's period love story about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre. The helmer already has circled his Zelda: Keira Knightley is in discussions to play the tempestuous lover.

"Damned" revolves around Zelda Sayre (Knightley) and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who became Jazz Age icons known for living large, soaring high, and crashing hard. Although toasts of town in the 1920s, their courtship and marriage was festooned with jealousy and acrimony. Fitzgerald used their relationship as material for his novels, and Sayre -- who tried hard to find an artistic identity of her own and ended up being admitted to a sanitarium -- did the same.

Hanna Weg wrote the screenplay.

Lance Sloane and Devin Sloane producing with Film Department's Mark Gill and Robert Katz.

Neil Sacker of the Film Department and Michael Goguen are exec producing,

The movie is looking at an April start date.

"Damned" would continue Endeavor-repped Knightley's love affair with period movies. The actress stars in "The Duchess," set in 18th century England, and her recent credits include the World War I epic "Atonement" and "Silk," set in 19th century France and Japan.

Actor-turned-helmer Cassavetes ("The Notebook") is repped by ICM.