Rooney Mara in Talks to Play Mary Magdalene

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Universal has teamed with 'The King's Speech' producers See-Saw Films on the upcoming project.

Rooney Mara is engaged in discussions to play Mary Magdalene in a new biopic from The King's Speech producer See-Saw Films.

The project, backed by Universal Pictures International Productions, was first announced last month and is set to be an "authentic and humanistic portrait" of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history.

Garth Davis — currently in post-production on See-Saw's Lion, also starring Mara — is directing the film from a script written by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett. Production is set to begin next summer for an anticipated release in 2017.

"Rooney’s raw, brave approach to performances, coupled with her deeply magnetic inner life, holds all the dimensions needed to bring to life one of history’s most misunderstood woman — Mary Magdalene," said Davis. "Having worked with Rooney on Lion, I know she is a once-in-a-lifetime talent."

Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films will produce Mary Magdalene, which was co-developed with Film4.

Universal will release the film in all international territories except Australia and New Zealand, where it will be handled by See-Saw’s longtime partner Transmission Films.

Mara is represented by WME and Management 360. Davis is represented by UTA, Edmundson by The Agency Ltd and Goslett by Casarotto Ramsey & Associates.