It looks like Javier Bardem will, unfortunately, be absent from Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming Tetro, which begins shooting any day now and will star Vincent Gallo and Maribel Verdu. According to a Hollywood Reporter source, Bardem suddenly “became unavailable.” The source said he would instead spend the next five months reading various drafts of the script for Rob Marshall’s adaptation of The Nine, which begins production in September.

Fortunately for us, his replacement ain’t too shabby. Taking Bardem’s spot in the film will be Carmen Maura.

Wait a second. There’s something a little odd about that. I can’t quite put my finger on it, though….oh, oh, I got it! Carmen Maura is a woman, and Javier Bardem is not.

As it turns out, and I’m doing a bit of a logical extrapolation because this isn’t stated, Bardem “became unavailable” because Coppola rewrote his role, turning the character into a woman.

“One of the most important roles in the script is the mentor and teacher of Tetro [Vincent Gallo], and I originally wrote it for a man,” Coppola said. “As I read and re-read [the script], I felt that the interaction between the two characters would be far more intriguing if they were of the opposite sex.”

For the sake of being thorough, I’ll say it’s possible that Coppola re-wrote the role after Bardem communicated his intentions to drop out. But when you consider that quote and the fact that Coppola is the kind of guy who constantly tinkers with his scripts, I feel the scenario I presented before is more likely.

Maura, whom you probably remember from Almodovar flicks like Volver and La Ley del Deseo, is certainly good enough to hold her own in the flick, so I don’t mean to disparage her with the title to this article. But any time we miss out on seeing someone like Bardem in a new film, it feels like a big loss.