Markell set for 'Diamond'

Thesp Jodie Markell has signed on to make her feature directing debut on Lindsay Lohan starrer “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.”

Pic is set to begin lensing this spring in Louisiana, according to producer Brad Michael Gilbert. Gilbert is producing via his Constellation Entertainment shingle.

“Teardrop” is a posthumously discovered screenplay by playwright Tennessee Williams, who sometimes adapted his own legit hits for the bigscreen.

Described as a dramatic, sometimes downbeat work, it centers on class tensions in 1920s Memphis, in particular on a romance between a society woman and a plantation worker.

Markell said “Teardrop” is more modern than much of the scribe’s output. “A lot of Williams’ material that people are familiar with doesn’t speak as much to our times,” she said.

Markell is an indie actress who has roles in Jim Jarmusch’s “Mystery Train” and current farm-romance “Sweet Land.” She also recurs as Wendy Hunt on HBO drama “Big Love.” She previously directed the Southern-flavored short “Why I Live at the P.O.”

Goal of “Teardrop,” Gilbert said, is to introduce Williams to a new generation; it has been several decades since the playwright, once a hot commodity in Hollywood, has had a major adaptation for the bigscreen.

Producer said he thought pic could appeal to the arthouse crowd as well as Lohan’s younger fans. “They’re not mutually exclusive,” he told Daily Variety. “We’re trying to make a smart picture for a young audience.”

Ellen Burstyn, David Strathairn and Ann-Margret also are attached.

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