Swank and Staunton taking classes

Classy thesps line up for ghetto drama

Vera Drake star Imelda Staunton has inked on to appear in Freedom Writers for MTV Films and Paramount Pictures, alongside double Oscar-winner Hilary Swank.

Based on a true story about a racially diverse LA school, Swank will star as a new addition to the staff who’s faced with the daunting task of teaching English to a group of freshman from gang-riddled Long Beach, California. Staunton will play her colleague, while The Silence Of The Lambs actor Scott Glenn is on board as Swank’s father and R ’n’ B star Mario will appear as one of Swank’s unruly students.

Adapted from a novel by Erin Gruwell, Richard LaGravenese, who tugged heartstrings with his screenplays for The Bridges Of Madison County and The Fisher King, will direct the film, which is due in late 2006.