'Jack Ryan' Picks Keira Knightley as Female Lead

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Garreth Cattermole, Getty Images

Kenneth Branagh's upcoming 'Jack Ryan' film starring Chris Pine officially has a female lead in British actress Keira Knightley, who won the part over other prospective actresses like 'Lost''s Evangeline Lilly and 'Like Crazy''s Felicity Jones.

According to THR, Keira Knightley is in negotiations to star opposite leading man Chris Pine in 'Jack Ryan,' a prequel to the Tom Clancy novels that inspired films starring Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, and Harrison Ford.

Branagh will direct and co-star in the film that follows ex-Marine Jack Ryan, a financial analyst in Moscow who gets in over his head when he discovers that his employers have orchestrated a financial attack that will cripple America's economic system. It's up to hero Jack Ryan to save the day and his wife, played by Knightley.

Knightley and Branagh have both worked in British period dramas, but the two have strangely never crossed paths. Branagh is well-known for his work adapting William Shakespeare, with films like 'Much Ado About Nothing' and 'Hamlet.' He also directed 'Frankenstein,' but stepped away from his period background to direct Marvel's 'Thor.' The director and actor also starred in last year's drama 'My Week with Marilyn,' giving a knockout performance as Sir Laurence Olivier.

Knightley has also starred in several period dramas, including 'Atonement,' 'The Duchess,' 'Pride and Prejudice,' and the upcoming 'Anna Karenina,' which reunites her with director Joe Wright. She was most recently seen alongside Steve Carell in Lorene Scafaria's 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.'

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