Clearly, Randall Wallace has a thing for horses: Our spies tell us that Wallace, the writer-director of Disney’s Secretariat, is now trying to mount an indie espionage drama about the lusty Russian czarina — and alleged equine zoophile — Catherine the Great called Love and Honor. Set two years before America’s Declaration of Independence, Love and Honor already has Channing Tatum (Dear John, G.I. Joe, Stop Loss) lined up to play — what else? — an American soldier; this time, a Virginia cavalryman named Kieran Selkirk dispatched by Benjamin Franklin to Russia to pose as a British mercenary.
Wallace’s screenplay is based on his 2005 work of historical fiction of the same name. In the book, once Selkirk arrives at Catherine’s court in St. Pete, clothes are quickly doffed. Tatum offers his (ahem!) services as a swordsman to Catherine, who’s busily fighting against the Cossacks, though his real intention is to win her affections and convince her not to send the 20,000 Russian soldiers Britain has requested to suppress the (ahem!) coming American insurrection.
Several years ago, the project had been set up at Disney with Angelina Jolie attached to play Catherine, but neither that studio nor Jolie are involved anymore; instead, Wallace is cruising the American Film Market tomorrow, meeting with potential financiers. We hear an offer is already out to Anne Hathaway to play the part of Beatrice, an attendant to a princess in Catherine’s court and Tatum’s love interest in the film.