Artisan Pictures and Tribeca Productions have hired British director Richard Eyre to direct the film of Jeffrey Hatcher's stage play Compleat Female Stage Beauty which the two companies are teaming to co-produce. Eyre, who last directed Iris for BBC Films and Intermedia, is currently directing the Broadway revival of The Crucible.

The film, which was announced by Artisan Pictures president of development and production Richard Saperstein and Tribeca Productions president Jane Rosenthal, is the story of Edward Kynaston, a stage actor who played women's roles in 1661 England. When the king declares it illegal for men to play women's roles, he finds himself without work and embarks on a personal journey.

"It is incredibly gratifying to marry the right material with the right director," said Rachel Cohen, senior vice president of acquisitions and production for Artisan Pictures in a statement. "In this case, we have a complex script that is funny, tragic and sexy, and we are pleased that Richard will bring his immense artistic abilities to our film." Cohen has been instrumental in acquiring the material, developing the project and attracting talent.

Eyre's film credits aside from Iris include Loose Connections, The Ploughman's Lunch and Laughterhouse. He was formerly director of the National Theatre in London and his TV credits include Suddenly Last Summer and The Absence Of War.

Erin Austin, Artisan Entertainment's senior vice president, business & legal affairs represented Artisan in the negotiations for Eyre's services. Hardy Justice, vice president of development, Tribeca Productions represented Tribeca. CAA represented Eyre, in association with his UK agent Judy Daish of Judy Daish Associates.