Keira Knightley to play Zelda Sayre?

Nick Cassavetes has signed on to direct ‘The Beautiful and the Damned’ with Keira Knightley as his leading lady.

‘Damned’ revolves around Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who became Jazz Age icons known for living large, soaring high and crashing hard. Although toasts of town in the 1920s, their courtship and marriage was festooned with jealousy and acrimony. Fitzgerald used their relationship as material for his novels, and Sayre — who tried hard to find an artistic identity of her own and ended up being admitted to a sanitarium — did the same.

Hanna Weg will pen the screenplay with Lance Sloane, Devin Sloane. Mark Gill and Robert Katz producing. Shooting is expected to start April ’09.

‘Damned’ continues Knightley’s love affair with period drama. The actress, who is  currently starring in ‘The Duchess’, previous period drama credits include ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Atonement’, ‘Silk’ and ‘The Edge of Love’.