Thursday, October 7, 1999 Published at 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Madonna takes Coward role
Madonna with daughter Lourdes: Developing her acting career
Pop star Madonna has agreed to appear in a film adaptation of Noel Coward's 1951 play Quadrille.
US entertainment industry newspaper Variety reports that she will play the wife of an English aristocrat who has eloped to the south of France with the wife of an American industrialist.
Madonna's character joins the industrialist to pursue their spouses, hoping to bring them back home to avoid scandal.
The two develop a close friendship, which leads to romance and filming is due to begin in London and France early next year.
Madonna has just completed work on The Next Best Thing with Rupert Everett, a comedy drama about a straight woman and a gay man who decide to have a child together - but later wind up in a custody battle over their son.
Quadrille is not the only Coward work which is heading to the cinema screen.
The story is an account of a love triangle involving English aristocrats and Hollywood celebrities in the 1950s. It marks Julie Andrews' first film role in eight years.
Hollywood's recognition of Coward comes nearly 100 years after his birth in Teddington, Middlesex.
His last play to make it to the big screen in English was Tonight At 8.30 in 1952, although he co-wrote the 1967 film A Matter of Innocence, starring Hayley Mills.
Productions of Coward's plays are being staged across the UK and US to mark his centenary year, including A Song At Twilight at London's Gielgud Theatre, starring both Vanessa and Corin Redgrave.
An academic conference to discuss his work is being held at Birmingham University on 1 and 2 November.
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