Kiera Knightly Could Lead Barbra Streisand's Catherine the Great Biopic

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Kiera Knightly could go from pirate queen to Russian emperor for Barbra Streisand’s biopic of Catherine the Great, the longest-ruling female leader of Russia.

The British actress, perhaps best known for her role as Elizabeth Swan in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, has been in talks to star as the prolific Russian monarch since last year. Talks for securing Knightly’s involvement with the project have been slowly progressing, according to reports from The Hollywood Reporter.

Barbra Streisand will direct the film, written by Kristina Lauren Anderson and produced by Gil Netter. The script sat at the top of 2014’s Black List, a compilation of the best unproduced screenplays.

The biopic will center on Catherine in her early years, trapped in an abusive marriage to Emperor Peter III. The film will see her journey breaking free from the inept ruler’s grasp, and her eventual rise to power through her use of cunning and intellect.

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