Keira Knightley will lead a cast alongside Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle) and Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose) in the feature film Misbehaviour for The Crown outfit Left Bank Pictures. Pathé will launch sales on the movie at the American Film Market. Philippa Lowthorpe (Three Girls) will direct.

The screenplay comes from Rebecca Frayn, with revisions by Gaby Chiappe, and is based on the true story of the first black woman to win the Miss World competition.

The dramedy will be set against the backdrop of the 1970 Miss World competition in London, hosted by Bob Hope. At the time, Miss World was at the height of its powers, watched by more than 100 million viewers. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast. When the show resumed, the result caused uproar: the winner was not the Swedish favorite but Miss Grenada — the first black woman to be crowned Miss World.

Pic is being produced for Left Bank by Suzanne Mackie (The Crown) and by Sarah-Jane Wheale. Executive producers include Andy Harries and Rebecca Frayn for Left Bank and Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé. Pathé will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland and will handle sales throughout the rest of the world. Shoot date has yet to be revealed.

This is likely to be among the hottest UK/European packages at AFM given its theme and with Knightley coming off strong notices for Colette, Buckley getting raves for Wild Rose, and Mbatha-Raw’s star still ascending with upcoming films including Peter Pan and the Alice In Wonderland prequel Come Away opposite Angelina Jolie, Michael Caine and David Oyelowo. The project is a positive sign of the times given it comprises female leads, writers, producers and director.