Actress to play the controversial blueblood

Keira Knightley will play the 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire, in Saul Dibb’s “The Duchess,” co-financed by Pathe and BBC Films.

Pic, set to shoot in October, is adapted from Amanda Foreman’s best-selling bio of the controversial blueblood, who has been described as the Princess Diana of her time.

An ancestor of Princess Di, she lived an extravagant, profligate and promiscuous life of political and romantic intrigue, becoming an important powerbroker amid Blighty’s ruling elite but also running up catastrophic gambling debts. She was alternately feted and reviled, and widely caricatured by the popular press.

The movie is being produced by Michael Kuhn’s Qwerty Films. Script is by Jeffrey Hatcher.

Pathe will release the pic in the U.K. and France and will handle international sales.

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