Moxie Roxie gives ‘Chi’ try

Zellweger to sing and dance for M'max

NEW YORK — Renee Zellweger is poised to join Catherine Zeta-Jones as the larcenous murdering dancer-singers who topline “Chicago,” the Miramax version of the Tony-winning Bob Fosse musical being prepped by director Rob Marshall for an early 2002 shoot.

While Zellweger wouldn’t seem the most obvious choice for a song-and-dance film, the actress has been eyed for some time by the studio that distributed her last hit, “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

Zellweger showed off her talents to Marshall in Gotham late last week and demonstrated enough singing and dancing ability to have the director and producers Harvey Weinstein and Martin Richards offer her the role of Roxie. She accepted, and the dealmaking with her CAA agents and manager John Carabino is commencing.

An offer also is out to Kevin Spacey to play sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn, who defends two women on separate murder charges and changes loyalties when one becomes more popular in the press than the other.

Kathy Bates is also said to be under consideration for the role of Mama Morton, the prison matron who is the intermediary between the murderesses and the media.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are exec producing the film.

“Chicago” has been a high priority at Miramax for years, but co-chair Weinstein and the musical’s producer Richards were unable to agree on everything — until Oscar-winning “Gods and Monsters” scribe Bill Condon turned in a script that had the duo singing in harmony.

Since then, they have been meeting with numerous versatile actresses. They settled early on Zeta-Jones (Daily Variety, July 11), who has extensive dancing and stage experience. She’s now in negotiations to play Velma, the role originated by Chita Rivera in the stage musical.

Miramax declined comment.

More Film

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Spirit Awards Online

    The Spirit Awards are taking over television Saturday from Santa Monica, Calif., but viewers don’t need a TV to tune in. Hosted by “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza, this year’s Spirit Awards are set to air on IFC at 2 p.m. PT and again on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. However, indie lovers [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Oscars, After Repeated Tumbles, Take the Stage in Hollywood

    At least the weather will be sunny for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony following one of the stormiest —  and strangest — awards seasons in memory. Expectations have been turned upside down in key categories amid a historic lack of consensus among guild and critics groups. The 91st Academy Awards will be the first in three [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Speeding to Series-Best Debut With $58 Million

    Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is far and away the box office champ for Academy Awards weekend with an estimated debut of $58 million from 4,259 North American locations. Three holdovers and an expansion will make up the other top four spots, with the sophomore frame of sci-fier “Alita: Battle Angel” [...]

  • Stanley Donen

    Stanley Donen, Director of Iconic Movie Musicals, Dies at 94

    Stanley Donen, the director of such stylish and exuberant films as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face” and “Two for the Road” and the last surviving helmer of note from Hollywood’s golden age, has died at 94. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips tweeted that one of his sons had confirmed the news to him. Confirmed [...]

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content