“Chicago” Awaits Zeta-Jones

Chicago seems to be Catherine Zeta-Jones‘ kind of town.

The star of Traffic and The Mask of Zorro has begun early negotiations with director Rob Marshall to star in the Miramax adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Bob Fosse musical Chicago.

She may play the role of homicidal vaudevillian Velma, a role that was first played by on the stage Chita Rivera in 1977 and by Bebe Neuwirth in the award-winning revival, Variety reports.

Marshall, who is currently in New York casting the film for an early 2002 start, has his eyes on Hugh Jackman to play sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn, while Kathy Bates, who previously worked with Marshall in the ABC musical Annie, may play prison warden Mama Morton. Marshall also is auditioning actresses to play the role of Roxie, another of the show’s murderers.

Chicago is one of the two musicals that Miramax is planning on bringing to the big screen. The company also is working with Robert De Niro‘s Tribeca Productions to turn Rent into a film. Director Spike Lee is reportedly testing out the singing voices of potential cast members for the film.

Zeta-Jones can next be seen in the romantic comedy America’s Sweethearts, starring Julia Roberts, John Cusack, and Billy Crystal, which opens on July 20.