NEWS BRIEFS: Kidman Joins 'Producers'

01/23/2004 at 11:00 AM EST

CAST: Nicole Kidman will star as Ulla in the movie version of Mel Brooks's Broadway hit musical "The Producers." Kidman's sexy character is the secretary to Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom (played by Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick). This will be the second time Broderick and Kidman pair up -- the two recently worked together on "The Stepford Wives." "I'm so excited, she's so versatile," first-time director Susan Stroman says of Kidman in Variety. Shooting starts in February with a Christmas 2005 release date.

DIED: Tap-dancing legend Ann Miller, 81, whose fancy footwork made her a big-screen star in 1940s musicals such as "On the Town," "Easter Parade" and "Kiss Me Kate," died Thursday of lung cancer, the Associated Press reports. Longtime best friend and former publicist Esme Chandlee says Miller died at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. Miller also was a onetime childhood dance prodigy who held the world record for the fastest tapping (500 taps a minute).


QUOTED: "I have to be the Billy Crystal of independant film, and it's scary" -- "Almost Famous" actress Zooey Deschanel, on hosting Saturday night's televised Sundance awards festivities, to the Hollywood Reporter


CAST: Christopher Walken is in talks to star in the romantic comedy "The Wedding Crashers" opposite Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, the Associated Press reports. The movie tells the story of two guys who crash weddings in order to meet women. Walken, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work in 2002's "Catch Me If You Can," will play the father of a bridesmaid who one of them falls for. ... Shirley MacLaine has been tapped to star opposite Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette in sibling-rivalry comedy "In Her Shoes." The Fox project will be directed by Curtis Hanson ("8 Mile"). Mark Feuerstein ("Good Morning Miami") also joins the cast.

SPINNING: Michael Douglas's son Cameron will deejay at a Golden Globes post-party celebrating his father, who is this year's Cecil B. DeMille award recipient. The party, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel's Stardust Room and hosted by NBC, "Access Hollywood" and Target, will also feature performances by reality TV lovebirds Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson.

MOCKED: Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean made light of his outburst after Monday's Iowa caucuses by delivering David Letterman's CBS "Late Show" Top Ten list. The list, titled "Ways I, Howard Dean, Can Turn Things Around," included: No. 10: "Switch to Decaf." No. 4: "Start working out and speaking with an Austrian Accent." And the No. 1 way: "Oh, I don't know -- maybe fewer crazy, red faced rants?" Dean was videotaped reading the list in a Portsmouth, N.H., diner near a campaign stop, prior to the New Hampshire primary.

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