Screen idol Nicole Kidman has been approached by esteemed director Martin Scorsese to depict legendary star Ava Gardner in a new film about the life of Howard Hughes. The "Gangs Of New York" mastermind has already signed up Leonardo DiCaprio to portray the eccentric billionaire in upcoming movie "The Aviator." Hughes, aside from being head of RKO Pictures was a noted flyer, entrepreneur and lover of some of Hollywood's most glamorous women, including Gardner and Katharine Hepburn. Scorsese has also approached Gwyneth Paltrow to take the role of Hepburn, and wants Kidman to consider playing the sultry diva Gardner when he begins shooting the movie this June.
Miramax and Warner Bros will co-distribute the film, casting doubt on Jim Carrey's rival Hughes project. IEG will also be responsible for at least 60% of the film's budget, estimated at north of $100 million, and will handle foreign distribution. DreamWorks was the other studio angling to participate but Scorsese has a past with Warners ("GoodFellas," "Mean Streets") making that pairing more desirable. The script, which focuses less on Hughes's eccentric latter years and more on his early years as a director and innovative industrialist, was written by John Logan ("Gladiator"). At one time Michael Mann was expected to direct but he passed letting Scorsese take the reigns. Mann will remain a producer on the film. Carrey's project, with writer/director Chris Nolan ("Memento," "Insomnia"), may still go ahead and is expected to cover Hughes's rise and fall.