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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Johansson to star in Boleyn film
Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson will play Anne Boleyn's sister Mary
Lost in Translation actress Scarlett Johansson is to star in a BBC film inspired by the life of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII.

The Other Boleyn Girl is based on a novel about the power struggles in the Boleyn family - in particular between Anne and her elder sister, Mary.

Johansson will play Mary, while Anne will be played by Natalie Portman.

The 20m film will be directed by Justin Chadwick, the director behind the BBC's mini-series Bleak House.

The film is the second version of Philippa Gregory's book to be made by the BBC. The first was made in 2003 and starred Natasha McElhone as Mary Boleyn.

New projects

The film traces the Boleyn family struggles after Mary Boleyn, who is already married, becomes the mistress of King Henry VIII and bears him two children.

Her sister Anne becomes the king's new favourite while Mary is in confinement.

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett stars with Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal
After Anne's death, Mary manages to survive her family's power-hungry machinations and remarries.

Australian actor Eric Bana is expected to play King Henry. The film will begin shooting in October.

The film is one of a raft of new projects announced by BBC Films.

Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench star in Notes on a Scandal, based on the novel by Zoe Heller, while Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen will appear in sex-trafficking drama Eastern Promises.

"There is an unprecedented range of international talent attracted to our films at the moment," David Thompson, head of BBC Films, told the Guardian.

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