Ewan McGregor has signed on to join the cast of upcoming aviation biopic Amelia.

The Scottish actor is star as Gene Vidal, father of author Gore Vidal, in Mira Nair's film about Amelia Earhart, the pioneering female pilot.

Hilary Swank, Richard Gere and Virginia Madsen are already attached to the project, currently shooting in Toronto.

Amelia will focus on the Earhart's groundbreaking career as well as her tumultuous relationship with George Putnam, (Gere), her publicist and later husband.

Swank will play the pilot as her flight to fame began, when Putnam was engaged by socialite Amy Guest in 1927 to set up a non-stop flight across the Atlantic.

When Guest realised she was not capable of completing the journey herself, Putnam recruited Earhart, who had set the world altitude record for a female pilot in 1922.

Sideways actress Madsen will star as Dorothy Binney, Putnam's first wife while McGregor - currently shooting I Love You, Philip Morris alongside Jim Carrey - will star as Vidal, with whom Earhart had a passionate affair.

He will shoot his role before commencing production on Angels and Demons, Ron Howard's follow-up to The Da Vinci Code.

Though she later admitted that co-pilot Wilmer Schultz did most of the flying on the trip from Trepassey Harbour, Newfoundland, to Burry Port in Wales, the transatlantic flight propelled Earhart to worldwide fame.

She disappeared in 1937 over the central Pacific Ocean while attempting to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe.

27/05/2008 11:43:28