The Brit Oscar winner takes over after Javier Bardem exited due to exhaustion

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 19, 2008 08:35 AM

It looks like the producers of the movie musical Nine are replacing one Oscar winner with another.

Nearly three weeks after this year’s Best Supporting Actor (for No Country for Old Men) Javier Bardem withdrew from the upcoming screen adaptation of the Broadway show, citing exhaustion, this year’s Best Actor winner (for There Will Be Blood) will assume the leading role, reports Weekly Variety.

The London-born Day-Lewis, 51, will play the Italian film director Guido Contini, based on flamboyant cinema artist Federico Fellini and his semi-autobiographical 1963 romp 8 ½, which starred Marcello Mastrioianni. (The title referred to the number of movies Fellini had previously directed.)

Guido is conflicted by his artistic drive, sexual desires and his Catholicism, and Raul Julia, who was Puerto Rican, originated the role for the musical in 1982. Antonio Banderas, a Spaniard, starred in a successful 2003 Broadway revival.

Stellar Supporting Cast

For the movie, Nicole Kidman and Judi Dench have been widely mentioned to star as two of the many women in Guido’s life, while this year’s La Vie En Rose Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, screen legend Sophia Loren and Bardem’s real-life girlfriend Penelope Cruz have already been cast.

The movie, scheduled for release next year, is to be directed by Chicago‘s Rob Marshall. Harvey Weinstein, whose former studio released the 2002 Chicago and 1989’s My Left Foot – which brought Day-Lewis his first Best Actor Oscar – is producing.