Work Resumes on Script for Rob Marshall's Nine Film

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23 Jan 2008

Rob Marshall
Rob Marshall
Work has resumed on the script for Rob Marshall's upcoming film version of the Broadway musical Nine, which had been delayed due to the ongoing writers' strike, the director told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Weinstein Company, which will produce the forthcoming movie musical, had struck an independent agreement Jan. 11 with the Writers Guild of America, which allowed for any writing work on the company's films to resume.

"Musicals are so complicated," Marshall told the local paper. "They have to be beautifully crafted because there are so many variables. The script has to be in good shape before you begin rehearsals." (The publication reports the concentration of pre-production work had turned focus to choreography and design during the stalemate.)

Michael Tolkin ("The Player," "Deep Impact") adapted the musical for the screen. Anthony Minghella ("The English Patient") will now be polishing some of the writing. (The scribe-director had reportedly worked with Marshall previously on "Memoirs of a Geisha.")

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Javier Bardem ("Before Night Falls," "The Sea Inside") will fill the central male role of Guido in "Nine." The women who haunt him will include Academy Award nominee Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose," "Love Me If You Dare") as wife Luisa, Penelope Cruz ("Vovler," "Vanilla Sky") as mistress Carla and Sophia Loren ("Man of La Mancha," "El Cid") as his mother.

Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Chicago," "The Legend of Zorro") was in talks to play Guido's muse Claudia in the Hollywood remake, but will not be part of the film.

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Inspired by Federico Fellini's "8-1/2," Nine features a score by Maury Yeston and libretto by Arthur Kopit. The work centers on an Italian director who is haunted by the many women in his life just as his career is in jeopardy. The Weinstein Co. will produce the Lucamar Productions film. John DeLuca will choreograph with Marshall.

"It's a gorgeous score, and we're reworking it for film, so it's really a new book," Marshall previously explained to Playbill.com columnist Harry Haun (Aug. 19).

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.