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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Ring star to play Darcy
A scene from The Ring
Henderson was most recently seen in The Ring
Gurinder Chadha - director of Bend It Like Beckham - has cast New Zealand actor Martin Henderson as Mr Darcy in her screen version of Pride and Prejudice.

Henderson, one of his native country's biggest rising stars, was most recently seen in horror movie, The Ring, opposite Naomi Watts.

In Chadha's film version of Jane Austen's classic novel, he will headline with Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai.

The director's take on the 19th Century book will be a musical extravaganza complete with Bollywood-style singing and dancing.

But Chadha recently told industry website Screen Daily her film was not "going to be a parody of Bollywood musicals".

"It's going to be affectionate. I grew up with a lot of these films," Chadha added.

Chadha's Mr Darcy is a rich and seemingly arrogant American student living in London who goes to India for his friend's wedding.

He meets Rai's spirited Lalita at the wedding and, as they fall in love, the story moves from India, to Los Angeles, to London.

Cannes visit

The music is by Bollywood composer Anu Malik, with lyrics by the Akhtar family.

The film will go into production later this year but is yet to secure a distributor.

Bend It Like Beckham
The film has had good reviews in the US

Chadha is expected to take the film, and its two stars, to the Cannes Film Festival in May to finalise a deal.

Rai - a former Miss World best known outside India for Devdas - is also due to be on the jury for films in competition.

Expectations should be high for the film's potential success following the revived popularity of musicals in the wake of the hit Chicago.

Chadha's reputation as a skilled director is also growing after Bend it Like Beckham.

The film about an Indian girl who is determined to play professional football took almost £12m at UK box offices.

It was nominated for best British film at the Bafta Awards and best film at the European Film Awards.

It is currently doing good steady business at the North American box office, reaching number 16 in the charts although showing at only 117 cinemas.

US première for Beckham film
10 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Bend it Like Beckham scores highly
10 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Bend it Like Beckham: Your views
12 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
BBC nets Bend It Like Beckham
16 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Football film spurs on Indian girls
17 Jan 03  |  South Asia

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