Jeff Labrecque
July 13, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Wachowski brothers had Neo. Sam Raimi had Spider-Man. And Shekhar Kapur has Elizabeth I. The director’s 1998 film, Elizabeth, was nominated for seven Oscars, but few saw the film as a potential franchise-except Kapur. The Indian director, who cast a relatively unknown Cate Blanchett as the Virgin Queen, always envisioned not one, not two, but three Elizabeth films. It looks like he may get his wish: The second chapter — Elizabeth: The Golden Age — arrives Oct. 12, and Working Title Films is now cautiously optimistic about a royal trinity. Three years ago, when Kapur got the green light for Age — which revisits the Queen and her savvy adviser Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) as the Spanish Armada approaches, and Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) dazzles the royal court — Blanchett needed persuading before donning the ruffled collar again. ”It’s sometimes difficult for an actor when you’re so appreciated for a part, you’re just afraid that you may not find the same passion the second time,” Kapur explains. ”But as I assured Cate: I’ve never seen her do anything without passion.” Working Title co-chair Tim Bevan won’t officially commit to part 3 yet — ”Talk to me in November” — but Kapur is already at work on the story. ”I want to make a film about the absolute loneliness of power,” he says. ”She was left with no one at the end. She outlasted everybody.”

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