Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay has landed the female lead role in Winter's Tale for Warner Bros. and director Akiva Goldsman.

With the female lead secured, it is said that Aaron Johnson and Garrett Hedlund are the top contenders for the male lead. The story, adapted from Mark Helprin's novel, is set in the 19th Century and centers on a thief who breaks into a Manhattan mansion and falls in love with the heiress (Jessica Brown Findlay) he just robbed, right before she dies. Years later, he discovers the gift of reincarnation, and becomes determined to bring her back to life. We reported last month that Will Smith and Russell Crowe are attached in smaller roles, with Will Smith playing a judge, and Russell Crowe portraying a mob boss who wants the thief dead.

Akiva Goldsman will make his directorial debut with Winter's Tale, working from a screenplay he adapted from the Mark Helprin book. Production is scheduled to begin October 15 in New York City.