Carey Mulligan, the UK sensation who is being tipped for awards glory in An Education, is in advance discussions to star in the title role of Effie, being sold here by Ealing Studios.

The film is written by Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson, who will also star with Greg Wise.

Richard Laxton will direct the drama, which is about one of the great scandals of the Victorian era. It follows the story of John Ruskin (Wise), the eminent Victorian art critic, and of his marriage to Effie Gray (Mulligan).

As her troubled husband’s behaviour becomes ever stranger, Effie must gather her wits about her to avoid scandal while ensuring escape to the arms of the man she really loves: the dashing artist – and darling of her husband’s critical eye – John Everett Millais. Thompson plays Lady Eastlake.

Potboiler Productions’ Gail Egan. Andrea Calderwood, and Greg Wise will produce.

“We’ve been tracking Effie for quite some time are really excited to be working with such accomplished talent who have produced simply some of the best films to come out of the UK,” said Ealing’s head of sales Natalie Brenner.

Ealing Studios has also announced it is expanding its international division with the appointment of Nic Martin as  Acquisitions and Development Executive. As well as working on the Ealing slate, Martin will be reviewing new projects for third party producers.