"Do you have Prince Albert in a film can?" That's a question director Jean-Marc Vallée may be asked soon, and if he doesn't understand it's all a bad joke, he might give a literal answer like, "yes, and he's played by Rupert Friend." The casting is for Vallée's The Young Victoria, a film about the 19th century Queen and her first cousin/husband, Albert, whose name is better known these days for the awful practical joke and the awful body piercing (the former is not named for him; the latter allegedly might be). Friend, who is himself best known these days for his roles in Pride & Prejudice and The Libertine, joins Emily Blunt, who had previously been cast in the title role.

The royal biopic is not expected to hit theaters for another two years (though I think it will be pushed up), in which time you may become even more familiar with Friend, who won the 2005 British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer. According to the IMDb, the actor has no less than eight movies that could come out in the U.S. before 2009 (some have already been released elsewhere and/or have been shown at festivals). Also in the cast is Mark Strong (Syriana), who seems to be playing Sir John Conroy, a man rumored to have been Queen Victoria's real father.

The Young Victoria begins filming next month in the UK. It was scripted by Oscar winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) and is being produced by Martin Scorsese, Graham King (The Departed), Tim Headington and Sarah Ferguson (aka HRH The Duchess of York). So, yeah: a man named King and a real-life Duchess are producing a historical movie about a Queen and a Prince. I don't believe it possible that such a team could screw this up.