Rupert Friend will romance Michelle Pfeiffer under the watchful eye of Kathy Bates in Stephen Frears' French period drama Cheri.

The Hollywood Reporter says Friend will play the title character, and Bates is in final negotiations to play his mother, Madame Peloux, a famed courtesan in 1920s France. Peloux sends the spoiled Cheri to her courtesan pal Lea de Lonval (Pfeiffer) for an adult education, but their six-year affair comes to a painful end when he's forced to marry a wealthy young woman.

Miramax and Pathe will distribute the adaptation of French writer Colette's provocative 1920 novel with producers Bill Kenwright and Thom Mount.

Brian B.