Javier Bardem to headline Nine?

And Penelope Cruz may also join the new movie musical

As he starts getting ready to make his return to musical movie making, Chicago director Rob Marshal has begun to round up a cast for Nine. 

Though Antonio Banderas most recently played the lead role of film director Guido Contini, a man struck by creative troubles when he tries to juggle all the women in his life, Before Night Falls thesp Javier Bardem is Marshall’s choice for the lead.

And producers the Weinsteins are also talking to Penelope Cruz to play Carla, Contini’s mistress, while Marion Cotillard is in talks to play his wife. Plus, if Marshall gets his way, he’s also going to be hiring old Chicago mucker Catherine Zeta-Jones to play the director’s muse and Sophia Loren to play his mother, who appears as a ghost.

The Weinstein Company badly needs a hit, so they’re ploughing plenty of time for rehearsal and letting Marshall tailor the roles to the actresses’ various strengths. There’ll be a lot of crossed fingers in Harvey Weinstein’s office for this one…