Home Theater Jessica Biel May Be Cured of ‘Breakdown’

No sooner did I report that Jessica Biel would star in the musical version of “Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” than there’s talk she’s out.

It was only a week ago that Pedro Almodovar was telling me in Cannes how great Biel was in the workshops of the Broadway musical based on his hit movie of 20 years ago. I do know that everyone was excited about it.

But now it seems Biel is getting cold feet about the commitment of time, and the inability to make movies. She’s signed to make a comedy this summer called “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” which would eat into her rehearsal time. And then, “Woman” is supposed to open in October. Biel would be obliged to stick around through June and the 2011 Tony Awards. Ask Catherine Zeta Jones: that’s a loooong time.

I;’m sure Biel is getting great advice from top people, but really, I think she’d be better off racking up kudos and respect in the legit theater rather than make a couple of throwaway romantic comedies. But, of course, no one asked me!

If Biel is really gone, then watch all the ladies knocking down the doors at Lincoln Center to get that part. Laura Benanti, anyone? This is still a show on the verge of being a hit.

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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.
4 replies to this post
  1. Jessica Biel would be right to pass on Broadway. Her performance as Sarah in “Guys and Dolls” at the Hollywood Bowl was barely adequate. Her acting was wooden and her singing was pitchy.

  2. Well, if she thinks it isn’t worth taking time off making awful movies (when was the last time she made anything worth watching?) instead of appearing in what promises to be a first rate production, then she shouldn’t be on Broadway, simple as that is. Scarlett Johansson, a much better actress who makes much stronger film choices, took the time off making movies and made a splash in her Broadway debut, not only is she now nominated for a Tony but she was in one of the most well-reviewed productions of the season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her take the Tony home (though Jan Maxwell is quite a threat). And as you pointed out, if Biel is out, dozens of great actresses will come knocking down Lincoln Theatre’s door. Laura Benanti would indeed be great, especially if Patti LuPone remains involved! I also suggest Tony-winning Karen Olivo who needs a new project badly, she’s fantastic.

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