We haven’t seen Keira Knightley in a period drama since The Imitation Game in 2014, which is a really long time in Keira Knightley years. Fortunately, Deadline is telling us that the good people at Fox Searchlight identified this problem as well, and have done their part to correct it by winning a bidding war for the rights to Rhidian Brook’s novel The Aftermath and promptly getting Keira Knightley in talks to star with Alexander Skarsgård in the post–World War II tale of “passion and betrayal.” It’s unknown which roles the pair of lean European thespians are circling, but the story centers on a woman, Rachel, who goes to Hamburg with her only surviving son after the shelling has stopped to reunite with her husband, Lewis (a colonel in the British army), who he is tasked with aiding in the rebuilding effort. When Rachel arrives, however, she is surprised to find they will be living with a German widower and his “troubled daughter.” It seems too easy to peg Knightley and Skarsgård as the allied couple, and much more exciting to picture him as the widower and her as the frustrated wife/grieving mother. But after A Dangerous Method, we shouldn’t entirely count out Knightley as the troubled child — just a really grown-up one — and Skarsgård as the British colonel. Now that would really set the stage for some weird types of “passion and betrayal.” Aftermath is being produced by Ridley Scott and directed by James Kent, whose period-piece credentials should be sufficient for Knightley, as he is coming off of last year’s well-regarded Testament of Youth.
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