EXCLUSIVE: Holly Hunter has signed a deal to star in Still I Rise, joining Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the Daniel Barnz-directed drama about the campaign by a teacher and mother to transform a quality of education in a Pittsburgh inner-city public school. Hunter will play the head of the teachers union. Barnz recently rewrote the Brin Hill screenplay. Mark Johnson is producing through his Gran Via Productions banner. The film will be distributed domestically by 20th Century Fox.

At the same time, Hunter is in negotiations to star alongside Hailee Steinfeld in Romeo and Juliet, a Julian Fellowes-scripted version of the classic tale, directed by Carlo Carlei. Fellowes will produce with Gabriele Muccino, Ileen Maisel and Mark Ordesky. The Oscar-winning actress has most recently earned two Emmy noms for her work in the TNT drama Saving Grace. She’s repped by ICM and Management 360, while True Grit’s Steinfeld is repped by ICM.