“Doubt,” John Patrick Shanley’s adaptation of his Broadway play starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep, has been drafted to serve as the opening-night film of AFI Fest 2008, screening Thursday at ArcLight Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome. It replaces “The Soloist,” which was pulled when its release was postponed until March 13. The festival will screen an unfinished version of “Doubt,” which opens theatrically Dec. 12. “The movie is still being finished, but we were so excited to show ‘Doubt’ and help our friends at AFI Fest and the American Film Institute at the same time. We couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity,” Miramax president Daniel Battsek said. “We are grateful to Miramax Films and producers Scott Rudin and Mark Roybal for providing AFI the honor of premiering this highly anticipated, unfinished version of ‘Doubt.’ There is no doubt that bringing together Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams in concert with the extraordinary talents of writer-director John Patrick Shanley promises an evening that will celebrate the finest in American film,” AFI Fest artistic director Rose Kuo said. AFI Fest runs Thursday through Nov. 9.

According to Variety, Universal is setting Steve Martin to join Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in the untitled romantic comedy that Nancy Meyers wrote and will direct in February. Meyers is producing with Scott Rudin. Martin and Baldwin will play rivals for the affection of a woman (Streep). Meyers set up the project at U after making her two previous films at Columbia in “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Holiday.” Universal acquired foreign on the latter, and the film performed more strongly overseas than it did domestically. Martin is reteaming with Meyers, who co-wrote and produced both of the “Father of the Bride” films in which Martin starred for Disney.

According to ITV, Mamma Mia! has been named best musical with leading lady Meryl Streep winning best actress at the second National Movie Awards in London. Accepting her award for her role in Abba-centric film, Streep told the Royal Festival Hall audience: “I loved the movie, I’m so glad you did.” Mamma Mia! beat competition from fellow nominees Enchanted and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Streep triumphed over Amy Adams for Enchanted, Helena Bonham-Carter for Sweeney Todd and Ellen Page for US comedy Juno.

Meryl Streep and Antonio Banderas will receive Donostia lifetime achievement awards at the 56th San Sebastian International Film Festival, organizers announced Friday as they revealed the remaining details of this year’s event. Spanish homeboy Banderas will pick up his award on Sept. 19, one night after presenting the European premiere of Richard Eyre’s “The Other Man” at the opening night ceremony. The festival will honor Streep Sept. 26. for her prolific and talented career as “the best modern actress,” saying “it is almost impossible to speak of her without resorting to superlatives.” San Sebastian runs Sept. 18-27 in Spain’s northern Basque region.

“A Celebration of Maurice Sendak” will be presented Sept. 15 at the 92nd Street Y as part of the East Side venue’s Reading Series. Among those scheduled to be part of Sendak’s 80th birthday celebration are Tony Kushner, Meryl Streep, James Gandolfini, Dave Eggers, Spike Jonze, Linda Emond, Catherine Keener, Anika Noni Rose and Stephen Greenblatt. Show time is 8 PM. Maurice Sendak is the author and/or illustrator of more than 90 books, including “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” and “In the Night Kitchen.” He has also collaborated on several operas and ballets; in fact, he and Tony winner Kushner joined forces in 2006 for a one-act operatic adaptation of Sendak’s “Brundibar.”

While there’s still no official word on wheter Meryl will star in Nancy Meyer’s upcoming untitled comedy or not, another cast member has been added to the project. Alec Baldwin is in talks to join Meryl Streep in Nancy Meyers’s romantic comedy. Baldwin will play one of two men vying for the affections of Streep’s character. The Universal movie, which Meyers has written and will direct, is to begin production next February.

According to Variety, Meryl Streep is in advanced negotiations to play the female lead in the untitled romantic comedy that Nancy Meyers will direct for Universal. Meyers is producing with Scott Rudin. Production begins in February. Streep will play the female in a romantic triangle with two men. The director, who made “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Holiday” for Columbia Pictures, made the deal to bring her next picture to Universal earlier this year. Streep is currently voicing a lead role in “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” the stop-motion animation adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel at 20th Century Fox.

Mamma Mia!, The Golden Compass and St Trinian’s lead the field for the National Movie Awards, picking up four nominations each. Mamma Mia! cohorts Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth are up for Best Male for their roles in the Abba musical film. Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker are also in the running for the award. The winners, voted for by the public, will be unveiled in London on September 08 at London’s Royal Festival Hall and in a live ceremony screened on ITV1. You can vote for Meryl by submitting your vote here.