Keira Knightley To Inspire Lust And Art In Effie Gray Biopic

By Sean O'Connell 2011-11-07 12:47:15discussion comments
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Keira Knightley has a face for, and most likely a taste for, period features. You could count on one hand the number of modern-day films on the Oscar nominee’s resume, and her current turn starring in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method is only her latest outing donning antique garb to play tortured heroines in period-sensitive fare.

Add another title to that ever-growing list, as Knightley appears ready to play artist’s muse Effie Gray in the period drama Untouched for director Andrucha Waddington, Indiewire reports. The name comes from the fact that Gray’s husband, famed art critic John Ruskin, never consummated their marriage, prompting Gray to leave Ruskin and eventually marry his protégé, John Millais. Gray’s annulment from Ruskin cost her socially, though she inspired Millais to paint some of his finest works.

Untouched wouldn’t be the first time the Ruskin-Gray-Millais love triangle was captured in story form … far from it. The tale dates as far back as 1912, when the silent film The Love of John Ruskin recounted the romantic tragedy. It also inspired novels, plays, short films, and the 1995 opera, Modern Painters. There’s also a rival Effie project being shopped around by Emma Thompson (who wrote the script) that would feature Dakota Fanning in the role. Could we be staring at two Effie Gray features racing toward theaters?

Speaking of not-very-original, those who’ve seen Dangerous Method know that in Cronenberg’s film, Knightley plays a woman trapped, somewhat, between a mentor (Viggo Mortensen) and his protégé (Michael Fassbender). I’m not suggesting Keira’s being typecast. Far from it. She has wide range, and I love when she challenges herself with difficult roles, as she did with Never Let Me Go, Atonement and The Duchess. I just wish she’d do it more often.
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