By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated August 18, 2009 at 12:47 PM EDT

Robert Redford will direct historical drama The Conspirator, which follows Mary Surratt, the woman who supposedly helped Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, The Risky Biz Blog reports. The independent film will begin shooting this fall, with James McAvoy in contention for one of the leads. Surratt ran a Washington, D.C., boarding house; a Confederate sympathizer, the widow allegedly supplied weapons to Booth and his accomplice, David Herold, after Booth shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theater. She was eventually convicted and hanged, but Frederick Aiken, the Union hero appointed to defend Surratt (and also a major character in the movie), came to believe she was innocent.