‘Nine’ delayed & possible cast changes?

Variety just reported that the current writers’ strike delayed the production of ‘Nine’ – Marion Cotillard’s rumoured upcoming project:

The Weinstein Co., meanwhile, postponed “Nine,” the Rob Marshall-directed musical that was slated to start production in March with Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard starring.In all four cases, the sponsoring studios decided they couldn’t overcome logistical and script problems exacerbated by the Writers Guild strike that is preventing rewrites, along with the looming expirations of the Directors Guild and Screen Actors Guild contracts in June. Other films are struggling to avoid the same fate.

“Nine,” the first collaboration between Marshall and Harvey Weinstein since the Oscar-winning “Chicago,” is now skedded to begin production in the second half of 2008. After Michael Tolkin wrote the script, TWC engaged Anthony Minghella to do a polish, but he was able to put in only three days of work before the writers guild went out.

Because of the intricate interaction between the script and the choreography that Marshall and John DeLuca plan, it was decided to wait for the writers to return, so the script can be properly completed.

Bardem will play the director Guido Contini, who experiences a creative and personal crisis as he tries to balance the women in his life, including his wife, mistress, film-star muse, agent and even his mother. The musical was inspired by the Fellini film “8½.” Music and lyrics are by Maury Yeston, composer and lyricist of the original production.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, who had been in talks to play one of the lead roles, dropped out of the movie, but the postponement was unrelated to her exit.

Regarding the last sentence it was New York Daily News who reported about it first. Citing a source claiming the actress had asked if the writer could enlarge her part. However, a friend insists she never officially commited and ultimately decided against the project because she felt it would be too similar a role to the one she played in ‘Chicago’.

Marshall is said to be looking for a slightly younger actress to play Claudia. Among those under consideration: Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler, Keira Knightley and Kate Hudson.

A ‘proper’ official announcement of the ‘Nine’ cast members has never been made although director Rob Marshall mentioned in an interview with The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the cast would include Javier Bardem, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren. Marion Cotillard herself has not actually confirmed her commitment for sure but has alluded to it on several occasions. Let’s all hope she will do this movie even if it for the time being became another victim of the strike!


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