Actor leaves Rob Marshall's musical

Javier Bardem has stepped out of the lead role of “Nine,” the musical that “Chicago” helmer Rob Marshall will direct for the Weinstein Co.

Bardem was expected to play Guido Contini, a film director who experiences personal and creative crisis trying to balance all the women in his life.

Though his camp said that Bardem loved the script and the idea of working with Marshall, he pulled out because he is exhausted from work and awards season, and will take as long as a year to recharge his batteries.

Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard and Sophia Loren are still aboard to star, and Nicole Kidman and Judi Dench are reportedly negotiating to join them in the screen adaptation of a stage musical inspired by the Fellini film “8½.”

Bardem was ready to make the film late last year, but “Nine” got postponed, along with several other high profile projects, because it needed refinements to the Michael Tolkin script that weren’t possible because of the writer’s strike.

“Javier personally asked me if we could move production to February, but we just couldn’t do it,” said TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. “He is an amazing talent and I know we’ll work together in the future, very soon.”

Bardem will next be seen in TWC’s Woody Allen-directed “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” which will debut at the Cannes Film Festival.

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