David Frankel is directing the New Line drama, which will co-star Helen Mirren, Michael Pena and Naomie Harris
Rachel McAdams had been in talks for a key supporting role, though a deal failed to materialize. Knightley is not replacing her, as she’s in negotiations to play a different character.
Allan Loeb wrote the script, which follows a New York advertising executive (Smith) who experiences a personal tragedy. His colleagues devise an unconventional plan to break him out of his depression, which works — but not in a way that anyone imagined.
The film will feature actors as walking embodiments of Love, Death and Time, with Knightley playing Love.
Anthony Bregman, Kevin Frakes, Bard Dorros, Michael Sugar and Loeb are producing the film, which will hit theaters on Dec. 16, the same day Disney unveils “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Village Roadshow is co-producing and co-financing the project, which will start production later this month in New York City.
Knightley recently starred in “Everest” and “The Imitation Game,” the latter of which earned her an Oscar nomination. She’s represented by CAA.