Streep to play with ‘Violins’

Craven pic skedded for October shoot in Gotham

Meryl Streep will add another string to her bow with the role of violinist Roberta Tzavaras in the Wes Craven-directed “50 Violins” for Miramax Films.

Streep replaces Madonna, who exited the pic due to creative differences with Craven in July.

“Violins,” which was several months into pre-production when Madonna quit, now has a tentative start date of mid-October in Gotham.

Pic is based on the Oscar-nominated documentary “Small Wonders.” Tzavaras was an East Harlem violin teacher who trained a number of inner-city hopefuls, some of them reaching Carnegie Hall standards.

Pic will demand a substantial amount of preparation time from the versatile actress: among other things, she will need to learn to play the fiddle. Streep is noted for her ability with challenging, virtuoso roles, exemplified by such pics as “Sophie’s Choice” and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.”

“Violins,” which was written by Pamela Gray, is being produced by Craven/Maddalena Films’ Marianne Maddalena. Craven/Maddalena has a production deal with Miramax.

Amy Slotnick, VP of creative affairs, is the executive in charge of production on “Violins” for the Disney-owned indie.

“Violins” marks horror helmer Craven’s first stab at a serious drama, and one that he wants to get into production before turning his attention to “Scream 3” for Miramax genre division Dimension Films.

Streep’s upcoming films include Carl Franklin’s “One True Thing,” which Universal Pictures releases in September; and Pat O’Connor’s “Dancing at Lughnasa.”

After “Violins,” Streep could segue to her role opposite Michael Douglas in Mimi Leder’s “Still Life” for U.

She is repped by CAA.

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