Marion Cotillard

Out damned spot, out I say! A little while back, Natalie Portman signed on to play one of literature's most, uh, supportive spouses, Lady Macbeth in a new film version of Shakespeare's play "Macbeth," to be directed by Justin Kurzel, the Australian helmer who broke through with the deeply grim serial killer picture "Snowtown." But with Portman gearing up her directorial debut "A Tale Of Love And Darkness," it seems that something had to give, and Kurzel's traded one Oscar-winner for another in her place.

Deadline report that "La Vie En Rose" and "Inception" star Marion Cotillard has come on board to replace Portman as Lady M, joining Michael Fassbender, who'll play the title role. While it's a shame that Portman couldn't make it work, this feels, if anything, like a trade up — Cotillard is a more natural fit for the part, and her Gallic origins could add an interesting subtext to the film too.

The film will apparently feature extensive and bloody battle scenes, but will otherwise be a faithful adaptation, set in the 11th century and retaining Shakespeare's dialogue (the script comes from Todd Louiso and Jacob Koskoff). Film4 and StudioCanal are financing, and filming is set to kick off in January, so we could see this in theaters by the end of 2014.