After being second, third or fourth string in her recent roles, the ever-wonderful Frances McDormand is finally getting some top-billed goodness. The actress is set to star in two films for Focus Features. The first comes by way of a long-forgotten book by Winifred Watson -- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Published in 1938, the book became a victim of WW2, but is now making a comeback in the UK. An adult Cinderella-like fairy tale, Pettigrew shares one day in the life of a down-trodden governess who is sent to the wrong house by her employment agency. There she meets Miss LaFosse, a cabaret singer, who gives her a taste of glamour. Adapted by Full Monty scribe Simon Beaufoy, the film will be directed by Bharat Nalluri this April in London.

After dipping her toe into old-style London elegance, McDormand will be heading to New York for her fifth cinematic collaboration with husband, Joel Coen. (Previous forays have included Raising Arizona and her Oscar-winner, Fargo.) She will star opposite ladies man, George Clooney, in the Coen brothers next film, Burn After Reading. So far, all we know is that it is a dark comedy about the CIA. Hopefully, hubbie and bro-in-law Coen have written a meaty role for McDormand, perhaps with Clooney as her love interest. While she's finally broken through to the sexy, it would be nice to see her getting juicy leading men.