The Oscar-nominated actress is in talks to star in “Colette,” a biopic based on the life of French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (who used the pen name Colette). In 1948, Colette was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. But Colette didn’t get recognition for her writing initially — her first husband, Willy Gauthier-Villars, took all the credit. Rumor has it that Gauthier-Villars, a well-known publisher and author, locked his wife up and forced her to write novels under his name. Colette’s first four novels, a series based on a heroine named Claudine, led to fame and fortune — for Gauthier-Villars.
While there’s evidence to suggest that Colette was not the sole author behind the Claudine books and Gauthier-Villars was indeed a collaborator, what’s clear is that her role was minimized or altogether ignored, while his contributions were greatly exaggerated.
When the pair later separated and divorced, Colette had no legal right to the earnings of the bestsellers: Gauthier-Villars had the copyrights.
Colette had sexual and romantic relationships with women, most notably with French noblewoman Mathilde de Morny, before marrying her second husband.
Bold Films will finance and co-produce the drama, and from the sounds of it, the team bringing Colette’s story to the big screen won’t erase or gloss over her queer identity. Michel Litvak, the chairman of Bold Films, said, “Keira is impeccably suited to step into the role of the iconic Colette in the early 1900s, who pushed the envelope in a time when women writers were shunned and bisexuality was scandalous. We are honored to bring her story to the big screen.”
“Colette” will be directed by Wash Westmoreland, who co-directed and co-wrote “Still Alice” with the late Richard Glatzer. The script is penned by both Westmoreland and Glatzer.
Knightley most recently co-starred in “Everest.”