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NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - In what Francis Ford Coppola is calling a "sex change" operation, Carmen Maura is replacing fellow Spaniard Javier Bardem in the family drama "Tetro."
Coppola said he rewrote the pivotal role during rehearsals for the film's 11-week shoot, which began Monday in Buenos Aires.
"One of the important roles in the script is a mentor and teacher to Tetro (Vincent Gallo), and I originally wrote it for a man. As I read and reread (the script), I felt that the interaction between the two characters would be far more intriguing if they were of the opposite sex."
The director often changes key elements of his script before and during filming, he said.
But according to another person involved in the deal, Bardem "became unavailable" for the project and is currently reading drafts of the script for his starring role in Rob Marshall's adaptation of the Broadway musical "Nine." Bardem, who recently won an Oscar for his supporting role in "No Country For Old Men," never attended the rehearsals.
Pedro Almodovar staple Maura ("Volver") joined around the time of rehearsals. Alden Ehrenreich and Maribel Verdu also star. Coppola's American Zoetrope company is producing the $15 million production.