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Keira Knightley Starring as Effie Gray In ‘Untouched’; Rufus Sewell Latest to Join ‘Paradise Lost’

Posted by , on November 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm 

Nearly eight years after Pirates of the Caribbean, this past April marked the first Keira Knightley film (Last Night) I’ve seen that wasn’t a period piece. There doesn’t seem to be an explanation as to why she’s always been cast in these parts, but the process isn’t stopping. This month will bring the release of A Dangerous Method, and next year sees her reuniting with Joe Wright for Anna Karenina. Now, TOH reports that Knightley will lead Untouched, a biopic of Effie Gray being directed by Andrucha Waddington. The project is currently being sold at the American Film Market by Ealing Metro International.

They tell us that Aleksandra Crapanzano‘s script centers on “the real-life love affair between this beautiful young woman, trapped in a ‘loveless,’ unconsummated marriage to Brit art critic John Ruskin, and his protege, pre-Raphelite painter John Everett Millais.” This either sounds familiar because you’re a Gray enthusiast, or because you remember semi-recent news of another project based on the woman’s life going into production. That one, Effie, stars Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson (also credited as the screenwriter), Greg Wise, Tom Sturridge, Derek Jacobi, Julie Walters, and Edward Fox; Richard Laxton is directing. With a premiere at next year’s Venice Film Festival already being eyed, it’s almost guaranteed to hit first.

Despite the mild annoyance of having two films based on the same subject hitting within a year or so of each other, both seem as though they’ll have their individual merits; complaining might not be worth it, I mean. In the case of Untouched, I’m mostly looking forward to Knightley‘s interpretation of the woman — she always came across as a better actress than some initially gave her credit for, though her latest roles have started to turn heads. With the right material in her hands, this could be another one to do so.

In admittedly unrelated territory, Variety informs us that Rufus Sewell will be reuniting with Dark City director Rufus Sewell on Paradise Lost. His role is that of Samuel, a character depicted in John Milton‘s original poem as “Lucifer’s partisan who urges him to start the rebellion in Heaven.” Some might see this development as insignificant, but it should be remembered that both the actor and director here did their best work when collaborating. Above all else, it feels like a nice bonus to a project that already holds promise.

The rest of the cast is led by Bradley Cooper, Benjamin Walker, Casey Affleck, Djimon Hounsou, Camilla Belle, Callan McAuliffe, Dominic Purcell, and Sam Reid. Shooting will commence shortly; Paradise Lost should open in late 2013.

Would Knightley make a good Effie Gray? How do you think Sewell will fit into the Paradise Lost cast?


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