Johnny and Jude in Tights

07/03/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

Jude Law

Jude Law

Two years ago it was Shakespeare's turn to shine. Now it's time for his great rival, Christopher Marlowe. Variety reports that those two screen hunks, Johnny Depp ("Sleepy Hollow") and Jude Law ("The Talented Mr. Ripley"), have agreed to star in "Marlowe," a $22 million movie that will start shooting in London and Italy in March. Depp, 37, will play two roles, that of the Elizabethan playwright Marlowe, who runs afoul of the queen, and that of a jealous male admirer who ultimately hands Marlowe's unpublished work over to William Shakespeare. Shakespeare will be played by Law, 27, and will be shown to be an unsuccessful playwright who resorts to stealing Marlowe's work and passing it off as his own (shades of "Amadeus"). Meanwhile, Marlowe is currently getting the stage treatment with the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of playwright David Grimm's new play, "Kit Marlowe." This version shows the writer not only as a brilliant poet but as an outrageous sexual outlaw, something of a 16th century Oscar Wilde.

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