Casting Call: Ryder, Hudson, Witherspoon

Alert the accent patrol: Winona Ryder will star in a small British indie as, apparently, a British woman.

Her character is a claustrophobic who finds love with a younger man, in the $5 million-budgeted romance Lily and the Secret Planting, which will begin production in London on Aug. 12.

The 29-year-old actress will play Lily, who falls in love with a nursery owner's assistant, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, after planting a secret garden.

The 22-year-old Bernal came to international attention in the gritty, Oscar-nominated Mexican dogfight-as-metaphor film Amores Perros and will be seen in the Showtime miniseries Fidel as revolutionary poster boy Che Guevara.

Ryder, who starred in two of last year's biggest bombs, Autumn in New York and Lost Souls, recently wrapped work on Deeds, opposite Adam Sandler.

* * * Order another accent coach for Best Supporting Actress nominee Kate Hudson, who is in negotiations to star in The Girl With the Pearl Earrings, about the girl featured in a famous painting by the celebrated Dutch painter Jan Vermeer. The film, which is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, by Tracy Chevalier, tells the story of 16-year-old Griet and her relationship with the 17th-century Dutch master and his family.

Mike Newell (Pushing Tin, Donnie Brasco) is in negotiations to direct for Intermedia Films, with production expected to get underway this fall in the Netherlands, according to Variety.

Hudson most recently completed work on another period piece: Shekhar Kapur's Four Feathers remake, opposite Wes Bentley and Heath Ledger.

* * * Southern-bred actress Reese Witherspoon won't need much vocal coaching to play the star of Sweet Home Alabama for Disney's Touchstone Pictures. Witherspoon, whose asking price has risen from $1 million to between $4 million and $5 million after the success of Legally Blonde, would play a woman who leaves her life and husband back home in Alabama for the bright lights of New York City. Charlize Theron was previously attached to the Holly Golightly-esque role.

Andy Tennant (Anna and the King) is set to direct the film.

The suddenly-in-demand Witherspoon is also attached to play the sexy private eye lead in Honey West.

Reuters/Variety contributed to this story.

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