Benoit Jacquot pic based on Mirbeau's novel

PARIS — “Rust and Bone” star Marion Cotillard is in negotiations to topline Benoit Jacquot’s “Diary of a Chambermaid” (Le Journal d’une femme de chambre), based on Octave Mirbeau’s classic novel.

“Chambermaid” has been brought twice to the bigscreen: in 1946, Jean Renoir helmed Paulette Goddard in a Hollywood-set English-language makeover; and in 1964, Luis Bunuel directed Jeanne Moreau in a French-Italian adaptation.

Cotillard would star as Celestine, a young and ambitious woman who works as a chambermaid for wealthy families from 1890 to 1900. Through Celestine’s eyes, the film will shed light on the condition of house servants and perversions within France’s upper-class society at the turn of the 20th century.

Novel was published in 1900 amid the infamous Alfred Dreyfus’ political scandal. It was perceived as subversive because it gave a voice to a servant and denounced domestic service as a form of slavery.

As first reported in Variety (Daily Variety, Feb. 11), The Euros6.5 million ($8.7 million) project is penned by Helene Zimmer and Jacquot; and produced by Jean-Pierre Guerin’s new JPG Prods. and Kristina Larsen at Les Films du Lendemain. The pair last teamed on “Farewell My Queen,” which has been nommed for 10 Cesar awards.

Elle Driver is repping “Chambermaid” in international markets.

Guerin told Variety that Cotillard has met with Jacquot and is looking forward to reading the script and working with the French director.

As with “La Vie en Rose” and “Rust and Bone,” “Chambermaid” is likely to be an intense performance-driven film in which Cotillard will play a central part, appearing in virtually every shots. “Chambermaid” could also be another high-profile award-winning vehicle.

Project will bring back some of the “Farewell My Queen” crew including costumers Christian Gasc and Valerie Ranchoux, and set designer Katia Wyszkop.

Lensing is expected to kick off in March 2014.

Cotillard will next be seen in James Gray’s “Lowlife,” which is released by The Weinstein Co.; and Guillaume Canet’s English-language debut “Blood Ties.” CAA handles U.S. distribution rights.

Cotillard is repped by Adequat in Paris and CAA in Los Angeles.

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