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Scandalous casting

Blanchett takes 'Notes' for new pic

Fox Searchlight has set Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett to star in “Notes From a Scandal,” a Patrick Marber-scripted adaptation of the Zoe Heller novel.

Richard Eyre will direct the film, with shooting to begin Aug. 13. Scott Rudin and Robert Fox will produce.

Blanchett will play Sheba Hart, a free-spirited and charismatic art teacher brought down by scandal when she is arrested for engaging in sexual relations with a 15-year-old student. Dench will play Barbara Covett, a fellow teacher who befriends the younger woman and observes her fall from grace.

Book was published under the title “What Was She Thinking?” Rudin and Searchlight bought Heller’s novel in late 2003, hoping to fashion it as an acting vehicle for Dench.Searchlight is financing “Notes” through U.K. production entity DNA Films. Claudia Lewis and Peter Rice will shepherd the project for the studio.

Marber reteams with Rudin and Fox, both of whom produced his stage play “Closer” and exec produced the Mike Nichols-directed screen adaptation.

Blanchett, who’s coming off an Oscar-winning performance in “The Aviator,” is co-starring with Brad Pitt and Gael Garcia Bernal in “Babel,” for Paramount.