[UPDATE: Sarah Gadon is the actress who will actually be portraying Pattinson’s wife in Cosmopolis.]

Many a young fangirl (and boy) has spent countless hours bickering with their friends over which of them gets to pretend to be Robert Pattinson’s wife. Marion Cotillard and Keira Knightley were much more amicable in their dealings to become Pattinson’s spouse in David Cronenberg’s next film, Cosmopolis.

Cotillard has officially stepped down from Cronenberg’s adaptation of Dom DeLillo’s strange day-in-a-life novel, and Keira Knightley may be taking her place opposite Pattinson as the lead.

Members of the Cosmopolis fansite noted that production company Alfama Films no longer listed Cotillard – last seen playing wife to Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception – as a cast member. The Playlist contacted the Oscar-winning actress’ representatives, who confirmed that she is no longer onboard for Cronenberg’s latest tale of transformation due to a scheduling conflict. She is the second big name to leave the project for that reason, following Colin Farrell’s departure – which was essentially due to his starring in the Total Recall remake.

Knightley is now listed as a cast member for Cosmopolis and will presumably be replacing Cotillard as the sole main female character in the film. That the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy star is only one year older than Pattinson (whereas Cotillard was eleven) and recently worked with Cronenberg on his Sigmund Freud drama, A Dangerous Method, only lends further credence to this idea.

Knightley in 'A Dangerous Method'.

Pattinson will star in Cosmopolis as newlywed billionaire Eric Packer, who awakens one morning and realizes that “he didn’t know what he wanted. Then he knew. He wanted to get a haircut.” That seemingly innocuous desire leads the cocky, adulterous young man on an odyssey across Manhattan that results in him being stalked, attacked, and losing the entirety of his fortune – all over the course of 24 hours.

Themes of metamorphosis and changing identity have long been staples of Cronenberg’s twisted breed of storytelling and Cosmopolis looks to be an appropriate addition to his filmography. While the involvement of Twilight star Pattinson and Knightley – who more often appears in artsy fare like Atonement or Never Let Me Go, rather than blockbuster material – may not sit so well with Cronenberg fans, the two are arguably perfect fits to play a young, superficially-minded couple who realize that leading a life of extravagant wealth is not per se equivalent to a happy existence.

Cronenberg is gearing up to begin shooting Cosmopolis in Toronto and New York City by May 2011, which means that the film will likely not reach theaters until 2012.

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Source: Alfama Films (via CosmopolisFilm), The Playlist