Kidman in and Out of Dogville; Gibson Goes to Sea

Nicole Kidman's dating life has been the subject of much conjecture in recent weeks; now her professional career is also experiencing a tremor of speculation.

Kidman recently committed to star in Dogville, the next movie due from iconoclastic filmmaker Lars Von Trier, who sharply divided critics last year with the musical melodrama Dancer in the Dark. On Tuesday, however, a Swedish tabloid reported that executives at Von Trier's production company, Zentropa, had wearied of trying to hammer out a deal with the former Mrs. Tom Cruise and would seek a different leading lady.

Swedish daily Aftonbladet quoted Zentropa honcho Peter Aalbaek Jensen as saying, "We've had enough of the star system. It may be commonplace in major movies that stars play the diva and don't bother to sign contracts, but we can't handle that, either psychologically or financially."

That's news to Kidman rep Catherin Olim, who says her client remains committed to the movie: "She's doing the film. There's things that need to be signed on the dotted line, but she's still doing the film."

There's little to tell about the plot of Dogville beyond its setting: The action unfolds in a small American town in the mountains. Production will reportedly take place entirely on a Swedish soundstage, and the project has an economical budget of just $9 million.

Gibson Eyes Dueling World War II Tales Another Aussie of note, actor Mel Gibson, is also finalizing a movie deal. According to Variety, the star of Braveheart and The Patriot, who just completed filming on the Randall Wallace-directed Vietnam drama We Were Soldiers, may soon be going to war again.

Gibson is being wooed to top-line competing projects based on the true-life World War II ordeal of the USS Indianapolis — famously recounted by Robert Shaw in Jaws — a heavy cruiser sunk in the Pacific after it participated in the staging of U.S. air raids on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many crewmembers aboard the Indianapolis were lost to shark attacks in the aftermath of its sinking, and the Navy eventually pinned much of the blame for the disaster on the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Charles McVay.

Universal reportedly wants Gibson for a treatment titled The Good Sailor, but it appears that Warner Bros. and filmmaker Barry Levinson (An Everlasting Piece, Diner) have the inside track. Levinson is currently rewriting a script based on the book In Harm's Way, and sources report that Gibson's preference is to play McVay in the Levinson version, tentatively titled The Captain and the Shark.

If the deal goes down, The Captain and the Shark would likely fall into place behind the M. Night Shyamalan thriller Signs on Gibson's slate of upcoming projects.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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