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Nicole Kidman signs on to another boho bio with HBO's 'Hemingway & Gellhorn'

June 16, 2010 |  9:06 am

Kidman Further confirming a strange propensity toward artsy biopics, Nicole Kidman is slated to play Martha Gellhorn, the great early 20th century war correspondent and third wife to Ernest Hemingway, in a just-green-lighted HBO original movie, "Hemingway & Gellhorn." 

James Gandolfini, who has nurtured the project for six years, will produce, while Clive Owen will costar as papa Hemingway. The project is set to film next year in Northern California, with Philip Kaufman ("Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "Quills") directing. It will likely air in late 2011 or early 2012.

Signing on as Gellhorn certainly clicks with Kidman's penchant for bios of notable ladies in the arts and letters. Before her Oscar-winning-turn as Virginia Woolf in "The Hours" (2002), she took an interest in the life of Lee Miller, a model and Surrealist muse turned World War II photographer, and snatched up the rights to Miller's life story. The Cruise Wagner production company was set to make the film, but when Kidman and Cruise divorced in 2001, the project fell apart, reportedly because Cruise's production company didn't renew the option. There was also her 2006 turn as freak photographer Diane Arbus in "Fur," and she was also set to play Dusty Springfield in an upcoming bio pic of the '60s singer, but her reps say that project is "on hold for now."

Kidman isn't the only actress to take an interest in Gellhorn. Two years ago, Gillian Anderson acquired the rights to a Gellhorn biography, Caroline Moorehead's "Gellhorn: A Twentieth-Century Life," to produce and star in a big-screen adaptation for her production company, Fiddlehead Productions.

"Martha Gellhorn was one of the most respected journalists of this century, and I thought Caroline's biography effectively encompassed her rich and complex life," Anderson told Variety at the time. At post time, her rep didn't have a status update on the project but said she believed it to still be in development.

More big movie names are slated to hit the Home Box Office with the new David Milch ("Deadwood") project, "Luck." Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte are confirmed to appear in the pilot, which will be directed by Michael Mann, who's also an exec producer on the series.

-- Hailey Eber

Photo: Nicole Kidman at a charity gala in Hong Kong (Getty).

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