Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw have signed on to star in Misbehaviour, a dramedy that will focus on the 1970 Miss World pageant. Philippa Lowthorpe (Three Girls) will direct from a screenplay written by Rebecca Frayn with revisions by Gaby Chiappe. It will be based on the true story of the first black woman to win the Miss World competition.
Set against the backdrop of the 1970 pageant hosted by Bob Hope when the Miss World competition was at the height of its powers and watched by more than 100 million viewers, the newly-formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast, claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women.
When the show resumed, there was shock when the Swedish favourite to win was denied by Miss Granada – the first black woman to be crowned Miss World.
The project is being produced by Left Bank Pictures, who are also behind Netflix’s The Crown. Pathé will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland, while the rest of the worldwide rights are still up for grabs and will be launched for sale at the American Film Market (AFM), which takes place from Wednesday, October 31 until Wednesday, November 7.
Considering its themes, and with Knightley getting rave reviews for her recent performance in the upcoming Colette, and Mbatha-Raw’s star on the rise thanks to her recent performances and big upcoming roles such as the Alice In Wonderland prequel Come Away alongside Angelina Jolie, Misbehaviour will be a very hot project and likely to start a bidding war among studios.