According to Variety, Keira Knightley is at the center of a tug of love over how she spends her two free months between finishing Silk in May and returning to Pirates of the Caribbean III in August.

In the red corner there's her champion Joe Wright, who directed her to an Oscar nomination for Pride & Prejudice and slammed BAFTA for snubbing her. She's agreed to star in his next movie, Atonement, based on Ian McEwan's novel, which Working Title is planning to shoot this summer.

Playwright Sharman Macdonald, whose screenplay The Best Time of Our Lives is also aiming for a June start. Knightley has been attached since the project's inception four years ago.

Neither movie is yet greenlit, and both sets of producers are pushing to get all their elements in place. Mike Radford is set to direct "The Best Time of Our Lives," but he's starting another movie, Flawless, on March 27, so it will take a feat of scheduling for him to do both.

The race has an extra spice because one of the producers on "Best Time of Our Lives" is Sarah Radclyffe, who co-founded Working Title with Tim Bevan back in 1984, but left the company after it was taken over by Polygram.

Best Time of Our Lives is based on the true story of the complex relationship between Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, his wife, Caitlin, his childhood friend Vera Phillips and her eventual husband, William Killick. Knightley is down to play Vera.

Brian B.