59110031When he was alive, John Gielgud was considered one of the very, very best actors in the world.

So who would play the part of Hobson, the title character’s valet, in a remake of Gielgud’s most famous American film, “Arthur”? Why, Meryl Streep, of course.

The word from inside the remake, which stars Russell Brand as the title character, is that everyone is desperate for Meryl to take the role. As of two weeks ago I knew about this, but insiders said Streep hasn’t even been told of the offer. By now, presumably, she has.

A new script for the updated Arthur is being written by Peter Baynham (he writes for Sacha Baron Cohen) based on the characters invented by the late Steve Gordon. It’s not clear yet who would direct.

And who would play Arthur’s girlfriend, the part filled by Liza Minnelli so famously? “I’d just go back to Liza,” Russell Brand said jovially when I asked him recently. “There’s no one like her.” But something tells me Lady Gaga could be ready for her first movie, dontcha think?

By the way, Gielgud was older than Streep by 20 years when he played Arthur. She may deem herself too young. Better choices might be Maggie Smith or Judi Dench. Just sayin’ …

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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