Marion Cotillard is circling the lead role of Celestine in Benoit Jacquot’s “Diary of a Chambermaid,” adapted from the novel by Octave Mirbeau. Celestine is an ambitious Parisian maid working at wealthy families’ estates from 1890 to 1900; the novel underscores the upstairs-downstairs dynamic and the sexual perversions in the turn-of-the-century French class system.
Variety reports that Cotillard has met with Jacquot and is looking forward to working with the director. Production is set to start in March 2014.
The project is written by Helene Zimmer and Jacquot. The duo teamed for Jacquot’s Cesar-nominated “Farewell, My Queen,” an unsettling horror story about the last days of Versailles’ rule under Marie Antoinette, and the mercurial monarch’s tumultuous sex life. It stars Diane Kruger and Lea Seydoux.
“Diary” has been adapted for the big screen twice; once by Jean Renoir in 1946, starring actress and Charlie Chaplin’s longtime girlfriend Paulette Goddard, and once in 1964 by devilish surrealism maestro Luis Bunuel, starring French New Wave legend Jeanne Moreau. Watch a clip from the Bunuel version below (the Renoir version is available for streaming on Netflix).