When I interviewed Javier Bardem for No Country For Old Men last year, he was excited about Rob Marshall’s Nine, a musical inspired by Fellini’s 8 1/2 (this one is dialed up .5 more!). Now he’s dropped out of the film, citing exhaustion.

Bardem said that he was very cautious about taking roles, and that he’d rather not work than do something that he doesn’t like. Is it possible that Nine has turned into something he didn’t like, or is it true that the awards season hoopla has worn him down? The film was supposed to shoot late last year, but the writer’s strike got in the way; Bardem later asked if shooting could be held off until next February, but The Weinstein Company couldn’t accomodate him. And now he’s out.

Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard and Sophia Loren are still attached, while Judi Dench and Nicole Kidman are in talks. Now Marshall may have to go to his number two choice, John Leguizamo, the only obvious successor to Bardem.