Dakota Fanning is to star period Drama 'Effie'.

The 17-year-old actress has beat off competition including Saorsie Ronan and Carey Mulligan to take the leading role in the Emma Thompson -scripted project about the marriage of Euphemia 'Effie' Gray and critic John Ruskin in Victorian London.

Although Effie was a striking beauty, John never consummated the marriage because he was disgusted with her body, eventually leading her to fall in love in his protégé John Everett Millais.

Greg will play her husband, while Tom Sturridge - who will soon be seen in cinemas in 'One Day' - will play Millais.

Richard Laxton is directing the project, which will also star Emma as Lady Eastlake, who assists Effie when it becomes clear she is being destroyed by her marriage.

Julie Walters and Derek Jacobi will also star, according to Deadline.com

Producer Don Rosenfeld confirmed The Script is "brilliant" but it has taken time to raise the $10 million budget.

He said: "It's Emma Thompson's first original script after doing several fine adaptations and it gets to the heart of Victorian England. The script for 'Effie' was always brilliant, but sometimes these things take time."

It is hoped production will begin soon with a planned release in autumn 2012.