The Women: According to Variety, The long-gestating remake of 1939 comedy The Women is crystallizing ... again.

The latest plan has New Line looking to distribute domestically and co-finance with Ascendant Pictures and Capitol Films.

Diane English, who wrote the script, will make her directorial debut.

Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd are in negotiations to star. Uma Thurman is being eyed for a role as well.

The money and talent deals are expected to be finalized by week's end. Shooting begins in February.

Mick Jagger will produce the film with Jagged Films partner Victoria Pearman and Ascendant's Christopher Eberts. The Rolling Stones front man will also supervise the soundtrack.

English has been writing drafts for a decade; originally, Ryan planned to produce and star in the pic with Julia Roberts for director James L. Brooks. English credited Pearman's aggressiveness for getting New Line interested again in a project it scrapped several years ago.

"The Women" has always been a tough act to repeat. Many were skeptical that a predominantly female audience would justify the budget and felt that the Clare Boothe Luce source material was chained to its era and made stars Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell hopelessly unsympathetic.

But recent ratings successes such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Sex And The City" indicate auds may be receptive to such material. English solved the plot problems by embracing the fact that women today don't base their identities on the men in their lives.

Bening will play the wronged woman (Shearer's role), while Thurman would take the Joan Crawford part of the husband-stealer. Ryan, Bullock and Judd will play characters that are composites of some in the original.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.