Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films has optioned the movie rights to Dinitia Smith’s historical drama “The Honeymoon: A Novel of George Eliot.”

Smith’s novel, published in 2016, recounts Eliot’s honeymoon in Venice in June, 1880, following her marriage to John Walter Cross, a man 20 years younger. Eliot, who was 60 at the time, was recovering from the death of George Henry Lewes, her companion of 26 years, and contemplating questions about her physical decline, her fading appeal, and the prospect of loneliness.

The story explores the possibilities of redemption and happiness in an imperfect union. She died in December, 1880.

George Eliot was the pen name for Mary Ann Evans, who decided to use a pen name so that her work would be judged on its own merits rather than risk being stereotyped at a time when much of women’s writing was limited to lighthearted romances. She became one of the most famous novelists of the era as the author of “Silas Marner,” “Adam Bede,” “The Mill on the Floss,” “Romola,” and “Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life,” regarded as Eliot’s greatest work.

Chastain launched Freckle Films in 2016. She was an executive producer on “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” and a producer on the completed assassination drama “Eve,” with Tate Taylor directing. She starred in both films. She’s been nominated for Academy Awards for “The Help” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Freckle Films made the deal for “The Honeymoon: A Novel of George Eliot” with APA, on behalf of the Joy Harris Literary Agency.