EXCLUSIVE: TWC on the verge of a US deal for period drama set to star Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts.

The Weinstein Company is close to signing a US distribution deal for Second World War love-story Suite Francaise, ScreenDaily understands.

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Michelle Williams, Rust and Bone star Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas are due to lead the cast in the period adaptation of Irene Nemirovsky’s acclaimed novel about the tense love-affair between a young French woman, Lucile (Williams), and the German officer (Schoenaerts) assigned to supervise her in Nazi-occupied France. Scott Thomas will play Lucile’s domineering mother-in-law.

The Duchess director Saul Dibb has adapted Nemirovsky’s novel and will direct.

The shoot is due to commence on June 24 in Europe with casting underway on supporting roles.

Harvey Weinstein is believed to have been tracking the project for some time with TWC COO David Glasser beginning talks in earnest with Alliance Films executives at last year’s AFM.

eOne, which acquired Alliance last year, will distribute in UK, Spain and Canada, with the film’s co-financier TF1 handling France and worldwide sales. Michael Kuhn produces out of the UK with Xavier Marchand, formerly of Alliance, now at eOne, also pushing the project.

French writer Nemirovsky, of Ukrainian Jewish origin, had originally intended to write a series of five novels but after completing the first two, was arrested, detained and sent to Auschwitz, where she died.

The notebook containing the two novels was preserved by her daughters but not made public until 1998. They were published in a single volume called Suite Française in 2004, soon after which, in a previous incarnation, Universal picked up the film rights and attached Ronald Harwood to adapt the story.

Schoenaerts is due to join the project after playing opposite Kate Winslet in Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos, which is currently shooting in Europe.