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Winslet replaces Kidman in ‘Reader’

Actress dropped out due to pregnancy

Kate Winslet will replace Nicole Kidman in the lead of the Weinstein Co.’s Stephen Daldry pic “The Reader.” Kidman dropped out Monday, citing her pregnancy as the reason.

Principal photography on the pic began late last year in Berlin and the eastern city of Goerlitz, and filming was set to continue this month with Kidman, who had yet to shoot any scenes of the film.

Author Bernhard Schlink began dishing news Tuesday that Winslet would take over the role opposite Ralph Fiennes and up-and-coming German thesp David Kross (“Tough Enough”). Sources confirmed the casting.

Drama concerns a teen who falls for an enigmatic older woman in postwar Germany.

Winslet is no stranger to the script: She was the first choice for the role but was unable to do the movie because of a scheduling conflict with “Revolutionary Road,” the film that reteams her with “Titanic” co-star Leonardo DiCaprio and was directed by husband, Sam Mendes. Kidman then took the role, and the filmmakers built in a hiatus to accommodate her when the production of the Baz Luhrmann-directed “Australia” went longer than expected. Kidman stars in that film with Hugh Jackman.

By the time Kidman withdrew from the project because she and husband Keith Urban are expecting a baby, Winslet was available again, and the film will remain on schedule.

The Reader” is produced by Mirage Prods. partners Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella plus Scott Rudin for the Weinstein Co. Studio Babelsberg is co-producing.

Pic has received E2.8 million ($4.1 million) in funding from regional and federal film subsidies in Germany.

“The Reader” has pre-sold to a number of foreign distribs, including Senator Film for Germany and Austria, Ascot Elite Entertainment for Switzerland and Odeon in Greece.

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