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'Cat' Scratch Fever

Ashley Judd passes up Catwoman for Broadway. She'll make her Broadway debut in ''Cat on a Hot Tin Roof''

Ashley Judd has been attached for years to Warner Bros. projected ''Catwoman,'' but Variety reports she's now passed up the ''Batman'' spinoff in order to make her Broadway debut this fall. On stage, she'll play another feline role, Maggie the Cat, in a revival of Tennessee Williams' classic ''Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.''

According to Variety, Judd let the film's producers know that, in the event of a scheduling conflict, she'd pick Broadway over Hollywood. As it turns out, the studio wants to film in late summer or early fall. (Pitof, the single-monickered French special-effects whiz, has been signed to direct.) Two weeks ago, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. offered the Catwoman role to Nicole Kidman, who has yet to say yes.

So Judd will play the role, made famous in the film version by Elizabeth Taylor, of a hot-tempered Southern wife fighting for status and power within her extended family. The production, an import of the recent London revival of the play, featured Frances O'Connor (''A.I.'') as Maggie and her ''Bedazzled'' costar Brendan Fraser as Maggie's self-pitying husband, Brick. Variety reports that producers are looking at Mark Ruffalo (''You Can Count on Me'') to play Brick on Broadway and at Ned Beatty to reprise his London role as dying family patriarch Big Daddy.

Originally posted Feb 19, 2003
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