Well, that didn’t take long.  And I guess I was talking straight out of my keister about The Reader being developed expressly for Kidman.  Kate Winslet was the first choice for the role of the older woman.  And now she’ll get to play it!  That’s a huge upgrade in my opinion, since Kidman hasn’t been terribly interesting since the 1990s, and Winslet only seems to keep getting better.  I also think she’s far sexier than Kidman at this point. 

Suddenly, I’m faintly interested in this film.

I really hate to ruin your day, but news is news: Nicole Kidman’s pregnancy has forced her to drop out of Stephen Daldry’s The Reader.

In Oscar bait terms, this is actually a very big deal. The last time Kidman and Daldry got together (for The Hours), she won a Best Actress trophy (though Daldry couldn’t even score a Best Director nomination for his troubles). And her performance in The Reader, as a German woman who has an affair with a fifteen-year-old kid, was expected to be one of this fall’s awards frontrunners (I know it’s, like, nine months in advance, but people really do think this way in Hollywood). Now that she’s out, the production, which has already commenced principal photography, must scramble to find a suitable prestige pic replacement at a time when most of the town is booked solid into June on account of the looming actors’ strike.

This is tough, tough titty for Daldry and producers Scott Rudin, Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, as I’m sure the film was developed expressly for Kidman. Off the top of my head (and having not read the Oprah’s Book Club selection by Bernhard Schlink on which David Hare’s screenplay is based), I don’t know who would be a logical second choice. But Daldry must have someone in mind if, per Variety, the production is expected to remain on schedule. With Ralph Fiennes still on board (though not as the fifteen-year-old kid; that’s being played by some little fucker named David Kross), I’d like to see Rachel Weisz get a shot. Oh, wait, she’s shooting The Lovely Bones. Well, then, how about Jennifer Ehle? She’s a great actress and bona fide box office!

The Reader is being made for The Weinstein Company to aggressively shill come November.