Director Marshall Confirms Bardem, Cotillard, Cruz, Zeta-Jones and Loren for "Nine" Film

By Ernio Hernandez
September 7, 2007

Rob Marshall has confirmed that the stars of his upcoming film version of Nine — based on the Broadway musical of the same name — will be Javier Bardem, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sophia Loren, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The director — known for his work on "Chicago" — confirmed to the local publication what had been previously speculated in Variety.

Bardem ("Before Night Falls," "The Sea Inside") will fill the central male role of Guido. The women who haunt him will be Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose," "Love Me If You Dare") as wife Luisa, Penelope Cruz ("Vovler," "Vanilla Sky") as mistress Carla, Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Chicago," "The Legend of Zorro") as muse Claudia and Sophia Loren ("Man of La Mancha," "El Cid") as his mother.

Marshall was reportedly taken aback by the number of big Hollywood names who were willing to audition to prove their musical ability. The pool of talent is definitely international; Bardem and Cruz were born in Spain, Cotillard is French, Zeta-Jones is from Wales, and Loren is aptly Italian. No official casting has yet been announced.

Inspired by Federico Fellini's "8-1/2," Nine features a score by Maury Yeston and libretto by Arthur Kopit. The work — which finds an Italian director who is haunted by the many women in his life just as his career is in jeopardy — will be adapted for the screen by Michael Tolkin ("The Player," "Deep Impact"). The Weinstein Co. will produce the Lucamar Productions film.

"It's a gorgeous score, and we're reworking it for film, so it's really a new book," Marshall explained to Playbill.com columnist Harry Haun (Aug. 19). "I've been working on it since the beginning of the year. We'll probably be shooting next March and, hopefully, come out with it in December '08."

Of casting, Marshall explained, "We've seen probably every feature-film actress in Hollywood for the women. We're casting in New York, in Los Angeles, in London, in Paris and in Rome, so it's been a huge undertaking — and we're still doing it. Sometimes, there are real surprises. It's just like casting 'Chicago' because we don't know what film actors can sing. Sometimes there will be a surprise, and sometimes there'll be a disappointment for someone you really love as an actor and they just can't sing it."

Nine garnered a dozen Tony Award nominations in 1982, including acting nods for stars Raul Julia, Karen Akers, Anita Morris and Liliane Montevecchi — the latter three all in the Featured Actress category. Tommy Tune would take home a Tony for Best Direction as would Yeston for his score, William Ivey Long for his costume design and Montevecchi for her performance. The musical itself would take home the 1982 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Film stars Antonio Banderas and Mary Stuart Masterson starred in the 2003 Broadway revival as the Contini husband and wife with Jane Krakowksi (as Carla), Laura Benanti (as Claudia), Mary Beth Peil (as Guido's mother) and Chita Rivera (as agent Liliane La Fleur). The David Leveaux staging won Krakowski a Tony and took home the Best Musical Revival prize as well.