Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 2003 romantic drama film directed by Peter Webber. The screenplay was adapted by screenwriter Olivia Hetreed, based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier. Scarlett Johansson stars as Griet, a young 17th-century servant in the household of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (played by Colin Firth) at the time he painted Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665) in the city of Delft in Holland. Other cast members include Tom Wilkinson, Cillian Murphy, and Judy Parfitt.
Hetreed read the novel before its publication, and her husband's production company convinced Chevalier to sell the film rights. Initially, the production was to feature Kate Hudson as Griet with Mike Newell directing. Hudson withdrew shortly before filming began, however, and the film was placed in hiatus until the hire of Webber, who re-initiated the casting process.
In his feature film debut, Webber sought to avoid employing traditional characteristics[clarification needed] of the period film drama. In a 2003 interview with IGN, he said, "What I was scared of is ending up with something that was like Masterpiece Theatre, [that] very polite Sunday evening BBC kind of thing, and I [was] determined to make something quite different from that..." Cinematographer Eduardo Serra used distinctive lighting and colour schemes similar to Vermeer's paintings.
Released on 12 December 2003 in North America and on 16 January 2004 in the United Kingdom, Girl with a Pearl Earring earned a worldwide gross of $31.4 million. It garnered a mostly positive critical reception. Critics generally applauded the film's visuals and performances while questioning elements of its story. The film was subsequently nominated for ten British Academy Film Awards, three Academy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards.