Downton Abbey ‘s Jessica Brown Findlay to Star in Winter’s Tale

ON

Deadline reports that “Downton Abbey” star Jessica Brown Findlay has landed the female lead role in director Akiva Goldsman’s Winter’s Tale, an adaptation of the 1983 Mark Helprin novel at Warner Bros. Pictures. The project will mark Goldsman’s directorial debut. The book is described as follows:

Set in New York at the beginning and the end of the twentieth century, Winter’s Tale unfolds with such great narrative force and beauty that a reader can feel that its world is more real than his own. Standing alone on the page before the book begins are the words, I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me. In that world, both winter and the city of New York (old and new) have the strength and character of protagonists, and the protagonists themselves move as if in a vivid dream. Though immensely complicated, the story is centered upon Peter Lake, a turn-of-the-century Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house, and who eventually will die young and in his arms. His love for her, and a gift of grace, will allow him after the most extraordinary and painful explorations and discoveries to stop time and bring back the dead. To follow him, his predecessors, his inheritors, and his companions is to experience one of the great stories of American literature.

Findlay will play Beverly Penn, while the frontrunners to play the Peter Lake are Aaron Johnson and Garrett Hedlund.

The site adds that Russell Crowe is in final negotiations to play half a demon named Pearly Soames, and Will Smith is rumored to be attached as well. Both those roles will be fairly small. Goldsman worked with Crowe on A Beautiful Mind and with Smith on I Am Legend.

Shooting for Winter’s Tale is set to begin on October 15 in New York.

(Photo Credit: Lia Toby/WENN.com)