Keira Knightley in Talks to Take on ‘Catherine the Great’
Actress Keira Knightley is reportedly in talks to play Russian Empress Catherine the Great in a film directed by Barbra Streisand, who signed on to direct Catherine the Great in December. The film will chronicle the young royal’s struggles in an abusive marriage with the heir to the Russian throne.
The movie is based on Kristina Lauren Anderson’s script which won her the top spot on the 2014 Black List for Best Unproduced Screenplay. Catherine the Great will mark Streisand’s return to directing after two decades, her first turn overseeing a major movie since The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996. She also directed 1991’s Prince of Tides and 1983’s Yentl. Knightley is in early talks to take on the title role, but Streisand’s project is not the only film about Catherine in development. Angelina Jolie has optioned the rights to Simon Sebag Montefiore’s book Catherine The Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair, about the Empress’ marriage to Russian nobleman and military leader Grigory Potemkin. The pair married after the murder of Catherine’s husband, Tsar Peter III, in 1762 and they became co-rulers of the Russian Empire. The news comes weeks after reports surfaced in early February suggesting Knightley is in talks to portray French novelist Colette in a film to be directed by Still Alice‘s Wash Westmoreland. If she signs on for Streisand’s historical movie, Knightley won’t be the first actress to play Catherine onscreen. The role has also been tackled by Catherine Zeta Jones, Emily Bruni, Julia Ormond, Marina Aleksandrova, and Elisabeth Bergner, who played the Russian icon in 1934’s The Rise of Catherine the Great.