If there’s one thing you can always count on in the world of movies, it’s that Keira Knightley will headline a new costume drama at least once every two years. Indeed, following on the heels of the announcement that she would be starring as the title character in Joe Wright’s (currently-filming) adaptation of the classic Leo Tolstoy novel “Anna Karenina”, she is now said to be in talks to play Effie Gray, the famed 19th-century muse of pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais. The film is being directed by Brazilian helmer Andrucha Waddington (“House of Sand”) from a script by Aleksandra Crapanzano.
Gray married leading English art critic John Ruskin as a teenager, though their relationship remained unconsummated; she later fell in love with Millais, his protege, and ultimately procured an annulment from Ruskin in order to marry him. The film will reportedly focus on the early stages of Gray and Millais’ love affair.
The project is currently being pre-sold at the American Film Market by sales agent Ealing Metro International.
As noted by Indiewire’s Thompson on Hollywood, which broke the story, another Effie Gray biopic written by Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise was being sold at the market last year; that film recently went into production with Dakota Fanning starring as Gray (while Wise co-stars as Ruskin and Thompson appears as Gray’s confidante, Lady Elizabeth Eastlake). It will be interesting to see how things pan out between the competing projects, though it seems odd for two films on such a relatively obscure historical figure to be coming together at the same time.
What do you think of the news? Would you rather see Dakota or Keira playing Gray on the big screen?