Lily James is gearing up for another period piece, but this time around, the English actress will swap her well-worn corset for a swimsuit.
James has signed on to play Olympic gold medalist and record-breaking swimmer Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle in “Young Woman and the Sea” for Paramount Pictures.
In 1926, two years after winning an Olympic gold medal, Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. The 20-year-old American made international headlines for her 21-mile, 14-hour-and-34-minute aquatic journey and was christened “Queen of the Waves.”
James first came to attention in “Downton Abbey” and found great box-office success playing the eponymous character in “Cinderella” earlier this year. Her upcoming roles include a gory spin on Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and Countess Natasha Rostova in a BBC One miniseries adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.”
“Young Woman And The Sea” will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and written by Jeff Nathanson, both of whom are best known for their work in action movies. (The two just worked together on an upcoming installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Dead Men Tell No Tales.”)
This project seems like an odd fit for Bruckheimer, who tends to gravitate towards producing big-budget spectacles like “Armageddon,” “National Treasure” and “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” And Nathanson’s previous credits include the scripts for action flicks like “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” “Rush Hour 2” and “Rush Hour 3,” as well as notable dramas like “Catch Me If You Can” and “The Terminal.”
Since neither dude is known for female-centric fare, we’re going to be cautiously optimistic that some pockets of Hollywood are finally changing their minds about women-led movies being “niche” projects.
A director hasn’t been inked in yet.
James plays a supporting role in “Burnt,” which is currently in theaters.