Felicity Jones Joins Rosaline

It's Romeo & Juliet, Jim, only not as we know it

It’s safe to say Felicity Jones, or That Lovely Felicity Jones to give her full name, is having a moment. She’s got roles in costume dramas (The Invisible Woman), blockbusters (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and has established a fruitful creative partnership with indie up-and-comer Drake Doremus for good measure. Now she’s in talks to play Shakespearean Bridget Jones figure, Rosaline, in Universal’s movie of the same name.

Doing for Romeo And Juliet what Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead did for Hamlet (kinda), Rosaline follows the fate of Romeo’s ex. If you know the play – or have seen one of its 1700 movie adaptations – she’s all he can think about for at least the first five minutes, until Juliet comes along and he’s off like a Pepé Le Pew at a cattery. Then again, ‘Romeo & Rosaline’ was always going to be too alliterative.

This one updates the tale, 10 Things I Hate About You style, into a modern-day love story set in and around an American high-school. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have adapted Rebecca Serle’s novel When You Were Mine, and Weber broke the news thusly:

Felicity Jones is our ROSALINE - @iamthepuma & I promise you a version of Romeo & Juliet you have never seen before!

— Michael H. Weber (@thisisweber) January 30, 2014

Rosaline is a project that’s been doing the rounds since early 2012. Back then, Lily Collins was due to play the title character, with Deborah Ann Woll and Dave Franco in support, although Hailee Steinfeld was also linked. Jones, at 30, has a few years on those other proposed Rosalines, but as The Invisible Woman amply demonstrates, she can pass for much younger. High school shouldn’t be too much of a reach for her.

Back then Michael Sucsy was directing; now it’s Broadway man Alex Timbers behind the camera. Shawn Levy remains as producer.