According to Variety, Oscar-winners Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman will star in “Doubt,” the screen adaptation of the John Patrick Shanley play for Miramax Films that begins production in New York on Dec. 1. Shanley wrote the script and will direct. Scott Rudin is producing. Deals are being negotiated with both thesps. “Doubt” takes place in a Bronx Catholic School in 1964, where the principal (Streep), a nun who’s a strict disciplinarian, makes pedophile accusations against a popular priest (Hoffman). Still to be cast is a young nun caught between them. “Doubt” won both the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, and is on tour.

According to Variety, Meryl Streep and her new sidekick, Christine Baranski, are in London to pre-record their musical numbers for the coming movie of “Mamma Mia!” They’ll be singing along with Britain’s Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan. Streep and Baranski will then come back to the U.S. for a month off. “Actually,” Christine says, “I’ll be killing myself with dance classes.” Then back to London for 10 weeks of filming and on to another five weeks on some exotic Greek island.

According to this interview with Anthony Hopkins, promoting his latest feature “Fracture”, the announced Tolstoy biopic “The Last Station” with him and Meryl Streep in the leads, has lost its stars.

Q: Are you going to play Tolstoy?
A: No, that all fell through. I don’t know what happened to that. They postponed and it was going and then I said, “Look, I’ve got to get on with my life.” I think Meryl Streep was going to do it and I think she pulled out of it basically because it was on and then it was off.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Pierce Brosnan is in final negotiations to join Meryl Streep in the movie version of the popular ABBA musical “Mamma Mia!” The story revolves around a bride-to-be (Amanda Seyfried) and her formerly rebellious mom (Streep) who raised her on a Greek island and never disclosed the identity of her father. The bride locates three men who might be her father and invites them to her wedding. Brosnan will play the main father figure. Phyllida Lloyd is directing the Universal project; ABBA members and songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus will serve as executive producers, as will Tom Hanks.

Lots of film news these days. Although Meryl’s appearance as Tolstoy’s wife in “The Last Station” is not officially confirmed yet, Variety has reported on February 8 that “The Last Station” has completed its financing with a $1 million award this week from German funding org FFA. The pic is now set to shoot in Germany sometime this year, pending confirmation of dates by Hopkins and Streep. The pic is based on Jay Parini’s book about the aging Tolstoy’s dilemma whether to bequeath his wealth to his beloved family, or to donate it to projects for the public good. The full article can be read here.

According to the New York Post columnist Cindy Adams, Meryl Streep has been cast as the stern Sister Aloysius in the upcoming big screen adaptation of John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Doubt”. With a screenplay and direction by Shanley (who won an Oscar for his Moonstruck screenplay), the film will be produced by Scott Rudin for Miramax. Shooting will likely begin in fall of 2007. Streep will play the role originated by Cherry Jones, who currently stars in Doubt’s national tour. Full article can be read here. Many thanks to Frank and Katie for the heads-up.

At least this is a first official release date by the films’ distributor United Artists according to article: United Artists and MGM have announced that Robert Redford’s “Lions for Lambs” will be released in North America on Friday, November 9, 2007, with the remainder of the world to roll out in subsequent months. Principal photography on the first production from the new UA, began on January 29th with Robert Redford directing and starring alongside Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Derek Luke, Michael Pena, Andrew Garfield and Peter Berg. Matthew Michael Carnahan wrote the original screenplay. Also, according to the IMDb, Meryl’s character will be named Ursula Leachman.

Meryl Streep is participating in the “Lunch With A Leader” online celebrity auction. Running from February 9-19, the public can bid on an hour lunch with Meryl and dozens of other celebrities from entertainment, sports, business, politics, and journalism. Visit www.lunchwithaleader.com for more info. This is a once in a lifetime chance to have a one on one lunch with Meryl, herself! Many thanks to Peter from Communities in School for letting me know.