Rising UK director Dominic Savage is to direct Cate Blanchett in an adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel Alias Grace for Working Title Films.

John Brownlow, whose recent credits include BBC Films' Sylvia Plath project, is adapting the novel, which tells the true story of a Canadian housemaid named Grace Marks who was convicted of the murder of her employer and his mistress in 1843.

Brownlow's script revolves around Marks' relationship with a young doctor, who attempts to find out the truth about the murders using the then rudimentary science of psychology.

Savage is seen as a major future talent in the UK after his low-budget Out Of Control, a drama about three teenagers sent to a young offenders' institution which won the award for best new British feature at last year's Edinburgh International Film Festival. He recently signed with William Morris Agency for representation in the US in what was reportedly a heated contest between all the talent agencies.

Blanchett brought the project to Working Title after starring in Elizabeth and The Man Who Cried for the UK-based company. Working Title said it aims to finish casting the project this year.

Before Working Title came on board in July 2001, Atwood's novel was optioned by Jodie Foster's Egg Pictures, but the film never got off the ground.

Atwood won the Booker Prize in 2000 for The Blind Assassin. Her novel The Handmaid's Tale was adapted for the screen starring Natasha Richardson.