It's tough out there for any actress to build a long and fruitful career, especially if they sit back and let Hollywood pick their roles for them. Elizabeth Banks hasn't been content to let that happen, producing last year's hit Pitch Perfect, which featured a plum supporting role for herself. It's a trend that's been growing of late, with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and others determining their own path. Keira Knightley has picked up on that idea, as well, developing a new film as a starring vehicle, while Banks has come aboard two other high-profile projects.
Let's start with Knightley, who will produce and star in The Other Typist, and before you stop and think it's some sort of steamy romance between secretarial rivals, it's actually a 1920s-set crime film based on a book Suzanne Rindell. The story centers on Rose Baker, a lonely typist for the NYPD who becomes friends with a beautiful new co-worker named Odalie, and soon is drawn into the dangerous and glamorous New York underworld. The novel has drawn comparisons to Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock, which is high praise indeed. This one's still very early on as a writer and director still need to be found, and they might want to do something about that dull title.
Banks has signed on for a pair of indie films, although one promises to get a lot of attention. She's joined the Beach Boys biopic, Love & Mercy, which stars Paul Dano and John Cusack as Brian Wilson in various stages of his life. Written by Oren Moverman (Rampart) and directed by Bill Pohlad, it will detail Wilson's rise to fame and the mental health problems that nearly destroyed him. Banks will play Wilson's eventual wife, Melinda.
She's also joined the cast of Little Accidents, starring alongside Boyd Holbrook in the story of a small coal mining town dealing with the fallout after a mine accident kills twelve men. The film is based on the award-winning short film by writer/director Sara Colangelo.
Knightley next goes the blockbuster route opposite Chris Pine in Jack Ryan. Banks will get all spruced up as Effie Trinkett in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.