The actress/director has optioned Catherine The Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair by Simon Sebag Montefiore about the empress' marriage to Russian nobleman and military leader Grigory Potemkin.

Montefiore tells Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, "Catherine is the ultimate feminist hero. I feel very safe with Angelina in charge of it. I am thrilled that Angelina has optioned the book because it was my first book and it was very much a labour of love."

The book was published in 2000, and was based on 5,000 previously unpublished love letters between Catherine and Grigory. The pair married after the murder of Catherine's husband, Tsar Peter III, in 1762 and they became co-rulers of the Russian Empire.

Actresses who have played the role of Catherine the Great in the past include Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Zeta-Jones.