Film producers the Weinstein Company have acquired the rights to ‘Carol’, an adaptation of the 1952 novel by Patricia Highsmith.

Directed by Todd Haynes, the film will star Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska as the central characters – two women who start a love affair in 1950s New York.

The Highsmith novel, also published under the name ‘The Price of Salt’, was groundbreaking in its portrayal of a romance between two women.

At a time when most lesbian love stories were resigned to pulp fiction with doomed characters, the characters in ‘Carol’ are given a realistic relationship and a chance at a happy ending. The story itself, in which young department store worker Therese becomes infatuated with a wealthy wife and mother, was based on an incident in Highsmith’s own life.

Blanchett was the first choice to play the titular Carol, according to Producer Elizabeth Karlsen: “She’s got the chops and she’s got the physical beauty for the part,” she said. “It’s a cliche to say this but roles for women like this don’t come along very often.”

She added: “We’ve come a long way since Dirk Bogarde starred in Victim. We’ve had Brokeback Mountain, A Single Man, Far From Heaven – and President Obama came out in support of gay marriage.”

The announcement also came shortly after a lesbian romance film, Blue is the Warmest Colour, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Executive Producer Harvey Weinstein said: “Patricia Highsmith’s book defied convention and broke social boundaries at the time that it was published. With the outstanding cast and filmmaking team being assembled, it will make a moving and poignant film as well.”

Filming for the project will take place in London and New York, beginning this October.