Cynthia Nixon is to star as poet Emily Dickinson in biopic 'A Quiet Passion'.

The 'Sex And The City' actress has been cast as the late US writer - who died at the age of 55 in 1886 - in the movie by British director Terence Davies, who is ''over the moon'' that the 46-year-old actress accepted his offer to play one of the greatest American poets of all time.

Terence told the Hollywood Reporter: ''I wrote the screenplay with Cynthia in mind.

''It was the kind of dream casting you Hope for. I never, for a moment, imagined my wishes would materialise. Cynthia has such a strong feeling for the work - and now she is our Emily Dickinson. I'm over the moon.''

The movie will tell the story of Emily's life from her time as a schoolgirl to becoming a tortured recluse who saw only seven of more than 1,000 poems she had published in her lifetime.

Cynthia - who recently starred alongside Woody Harrelson, Steve Buscemi and Sigourney Weaver in crime movie 'Rampart' - insists she was desperate to land the role of Emily as soon as she read Terence's script.

She said: ''When I read what Terence had written, I was consumed by the character he had so beautifully put on the page.

''Emily Dickinson's words and Terence's somehow dovetail to create a heady elixir. When I put The Script down, I knew it was a story that I simply have to be part of.''

Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter are to produce the film, and Agyness Deyn and Peter Mullan have both been linked to the motion picture.