‘Young Victoria’ finds Friend

Actor to star opposite Blunt as Prince Albert

Graham King and Martin Scorsese have found their Prince Albert.

Rupert Friend (“Pride and Prejudice”) will star opposite Emily Blunt in “The Young Victoria,” a pic chronicling the royal’s turbulent early rule as well as her marriage to the prince. Canuck helmer Jean-Marc Vallee is directing from a script by Julian Fellowes.

King and Scorsese are producing the project, which begins lensing in the U.K. next month.

Friend, a rising Brit thesp, is shooting “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” for Miramax and will also appear in “The Last Legion” for the Weinstein Co. He also appeared in “The Libertine.”

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, introduced King to the project, which is being produced under his GK Films banner. Ferguson and Tim Headington are producing along with King and Scorsese, who last teamed on “The Departed” (Daily Variety, Feb. 7).

There is no studio yet attached to the project. King, a partner in Initial Entertainment Group, has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, while Scorsese has a new producing and directing deal with Paramount.

Under that pact, Par has the option to own half of any movie Scorsese directs or produces elsewhere, as well as to co-distribute.

King has several projects in the works for Warners, including the upcoming Johnny Depp starrer “Shantaram” with Depp shingle Infinitum Nihil and Plan B. Also with Infinitum, King is producing “Sasha’s Story: The Life and Death of a Russian Spy,” based on the story of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian spy fatally poisoned with polonium.

He is also producing “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” for the studio.

(Archie Thomas in London contributed to this report.)

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