RupertFriend, the hot British newcomer who can be seen later this week in romanticclinch with Johnny Depp in The Libertine, has landed the lead male roleopposite Joan Plowright in Dan Ireland's latest comedy Mrs Palfrey At TheClaremont.

Scriptedby Ruth Sacks from the popular 1971 English novel by Elizabeth Taylor, the filmstarts shooting for five weeks in London on Monday. Producers are Lee Caplin,Zachary Matz and Carl Colpaert through Cineville and Picture Entertainment.

Plowrightplays an elderly woman who has chosen to unburden her family of herself bytaking up in a London retirement hotel. Desperate to maintain appearances afterno family visits for weeks, Mrs Palfrey befriends a struggling young writer whoconspires with her to masquerade as her grandson.

Friendplays the young writer Ludo, with Zoe Tapper as his lover and an Englishsupporting ensemble includes Anna Massey, Robert Lang, Georgina Hale, MarciaWarren, Millicent Martin, Timothy Bateson, Michael Culkin and, in his firstscreen role, Lorcan O'Toole, son of Peter O'Toole.

Friendwill play the key role of Mr Wickham in next year's Pride And Prejudicefor Working Title and Focus Features.

Ireland'scredits include The Whole Wide World, The Velocity Of Gary and Passionada.