Gary Susman
July 08, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Winona Ryder hasn’t made a movie in two years, perhaps because she’s been a little preoccupied with other things, but now her career is getting a boost. She has two starring roles in the works, both in period romances, with acclaimed directors at the helm. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she’ll head to Prague in October to shoot ”Embers” opposite Sean Connery, for Oscar winner Milos Forman (”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” ”Amadeus”). She’s also attached to play the lead role in ”The Widow Claire” for Robert Altman (”Gosford Park”).

”Embers,” based on a 1942 novel by Hungarian author Sandor Marai, is about two old men (to be played by Connery and ”Out of Africa”’s Klaus Maria Brandauer), once friends, who reunite in an old castle after 41 years apart and discuss the woman who came between them long ago. That would by Ryder’s character, who tells her own story in diary entries.

Ryder is to play another woman torn between two men in ”Claire,” a young soldier about to go off to fight in World War II, and the town playboy. Altman reportedly wants Jake Gyllenhaal and Matthew McConaughey, respectively, for those roles. Imagine the ”research” she could do for these parts.

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