'Will' thesp to be girlfriend of comic strip cat

Debra Messing has inked to voice the role of Arlene opposite Bill Murray in the upcoming “Garfield” pic for 20th Century Fox.

Messing will play Garfield’s pink, sarcastic girlfriend, who has a gap in her teeth, opposite Murray’s overweight Garfield.

Pic, based on the comic strip, features a sardonic cat who must tolerate the indignity of being saddled with a nebbish owner (Breckin Meyer) and a nitwit dog as housemates.

The live-action/CGI pic, penned by “Toy Story” scribes Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen, is being directed by Peter Hewitt (“Thunderpants”). Pic began production last week in the U.K.

Messing will voice the role while in London starring opposite Dermot Mulroney in the romantic comedy “Something Borrowed” for Gold Circle Films.

Drawn by Jim Davis, “Garfield” marked its 25th anniversary June 19. It debuted in 1978 in 41 U.S. newspapers and today is one of the most widely syndicated strips, appearing in 2,570 newspapers in 111 countries.

Messing most recently completed production on the Universal/Jersey Films’ “Untitled John Hamberg Project,” starring opposite Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. Last year she starred in Woody Allen’s “Hollywood Ending” for DreamWorks.

Messing has received three Emmy noms as Grace Adler in the NBC comedy “Will and Grace.” She is repped by the Gersh Agency.

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