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Richardson set for ‘Nell’

Negotiations are wrapping up for Natasha Richardson to star opposite Liam Neeson and Jodie Foster in the 20th Century Fox/Polygram Filmed Entertainment pic “Nell,” sources confirmed Monday.

Richardson, who starred opposite Neeson on Broadway last year in a revival of “Anna Christie,” will play his love interest in the Fox film, which will be produced by Foster’s Egg Pictures.

Neeson was cast in “Schindler’s List” after Steven Spielberg attended a performance of “Anna Christie” and went backstage to meet the actor. Both actors went on to receive Tony noms for that production.

Foster stars as “Nell,” a young woman who has grown up wild in the forest and becomes the focus of a young doctor (played by Neeson). He, in turn, seeks the aid of a woman psychology student and the two doctors fall in love.

The film is based on Mark Handley’s play “Idioglossia,” with a screenplay by William Nicholson. It will be directed by Michael Apted.

Richardson, meanwhile, will be seen in the upcoming Fine Line film “Widow’s Peak,” starring Joan Plowright and Mia Farrow. She also starred in the BBC film “Suddenly Last Summer” opposite Maggie Smith, and was seen in the title role of the TNT vidpic “Zelda.”

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