Duo to star in adaptation of Shanley play

Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman will star in “Doubt,” the screen adaptation of the John Patrick Shanley play for Miramax Films that begins production in New York on Dec. 1.

Shanley wrote the script and will direct. Scott Rudin is producing.

Deals are being negotiated with both thesps.

Counting “The Queen,” “Doubt” marks the fourth project Rudin has brought to Miramax, after making his overall Disney deal.

Miramax has partnered with Paramount Vantage on “No Country for Old Men,” the Coen brothers’ adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel that will debut at Cannes.

Miramax has domestic distribution on the film, and international rights on “There Will Be Blood,” an adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s turn of the century oil industry drama that stars Daniel Day-Lewis and is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Paramount Vantage will distribute that domestically.

“Doubt” takes place in a Bronx Catholic School in 1964, where the principal (Streep), a nun who’s a strict disciplinarian, makes pedophile accusations against a popular priest (Hoffman). Still to be cast is a young nun caught between them.

Streep just wrapped the Gavin Hood-directed “Rendition,” and the Robert Redford-directed “Lions for Lambs.” She next stars with Pierce Brosnan in a screen adaptation of the musical “Mamma Mia!” for Universal.

Hoffman just starred in the Sidney Lumet-directed “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” and with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in the Mike Nichols-directed “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Next up for him is the Charlie Kaufman-directed “Synecdoche, New York.”

He’s currently starring at the Public Theater in “Jack Goes Boating,” a production by his theater company LAByrinth. Fox Searchlight releases “Savages,” the film he stars in with Laura Linney, in summer. He’s repped by Paradigm, Streep by CAA.

“Doubt” won both the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, and is on tour.

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