Wood, Howard, Williams sign on for biopic

This article was updated on May 17, 2007.

After Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter and Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen, three more American actresses are set to give purists the vapors by taking on the roles of the most famous sisters in English literature: Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte.

Michelle Williams, Bryce Dallas Howard and Evan Rachel Wood are lining up to star in “Bronte,” a biopic written and to be directed by Charles Sturridge, which is set to shoot in September.

Icon Entertainment Intl. has picked up foreign sales for “Bronte,” with ICM representing the project in North America. Alastair Maclean-Clark and Basil Stephens of AMC Pictures are producing. Sturridge’s screenplay is based on an original script by Angela Workman.

The Bronte sisters and their brother, Branwell, grew up in isolation on the Yorkshire moors, and went on to write some of the most enduring novels in the canon of English literature — Charlotte’s “Jane Eyre,” Emily’s “Wuthering Heights” and Anne’s “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.”

As children, they created epic fantasy worlds to entertain themselves, led by the charismatic Branwell, but when he descended into alcohol and opium abuse, the sisters had to find their own way in a world dominated by strict patriarchal conventions. This initially forced them to disguise their identities by publishing under male pseudonyms.

Sturridge said, “My family come from Yorkshire and I grew up with five sisters, so this is a story I have always wanted to tell. We all remember the lost worlds of our childhoods, but these amazing girls never abandoned them and applied the same unique and uncompromising daring to their work as adults.”

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