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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 10:48 GMT
Andrews tips Diaz for Music role
Julie Andrews as Maria
Dame Julie played Maria in the 1965 film version
Cameron Diaz should play the lead in a theatrical version of The Sound of Music, said Dame Julie Andrews, who played the part in the original film.

Andrews was asked for her choice of actress to play Maria at a question and answer session to mark the musical movie's 40th anniversary.

The BBC has confirmed it is in "early development talks" with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber about a theatre version.

Webber plans to use reality TV to find an unknown lead for the production.

The remake announcement followed reports that Scarlett Johansson turned down the part in the stage revival, planned for late 2006.

Dame Julie, now age 70, was asked why The Sound of Music had become a perennial family favourite.

Cameron Diaz and Shirley MacLaine
Diaz currently stars with Shirley MacLaine in In Her Shoes

She replied: "It's about decency. It's about love of family and love of country. It had the amazing scenery but phenomenal music and it's something the whole family can enjoy."

The star gave up musical roles for health reasons and has recently provided the voice of Queen Lillian in the forthcoming Shrek 3, which also starred Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona.

Dame Julie said she felt "lucky" in landing the part of Maria in the 1965 movie and did not see it as being a career burden.

"There are hundreds of other ladies who sing just as well or better than I do and I was the lucky one who got asked," she said.

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