Kidman Out of "The Aviator," Search is On for Secondary Roles

According to casting documents obtained Friday by, the search has begun anew for the Ava Gardner role in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator.”; With this search, it appears that Nicole Kidman has exited the lead role in order to completely focus her time on “The Stepford Wives” this summer.

According to the New York Post‘s Page Six, the flame-haired star was said to be in advanced talks for the role.

“The Aviator” covers the early life of Hughes, to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, spanning his early Hollywood career through his amazing work in the field of aviation.

Most likely playing into Kidman’s decision is the news that “The Aviator” will move to an even later start date for filming than was previously announced, with production now tipped to begin lensing in early July. Originally scheduled to film in late 2002, the Howard Hughes biopic has now been moved back from a June start.

The role of Ava Garder is one of several parts producers are currently looking to fill; they are also looking to cast the minor roles of real-life celebrities Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow, Errol Flynn and former MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer.

The producers ask casting agents to refer to old photos of the stars for consideration of the role. For Gardner, they’re seeking for an actress to portray “the most beautiful woman in Hollywood” someone “sultry, sexy and voluptuous, and emitting a raw sexuality.” The doppelgangers for Tracy, Harlow and Mayer each will appear in one scene depicting the premiere of the 1930 film “Hell’s Angels” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater (a film that Hughes in part directed). They’re also searching for an announcer for the recreation, who will interview the celebrities as they walk the red carpet. The production is looking for a “great old-fashioned voice and countenance reminiscent of Movietone news” here. Flynn will appear in both this and another unspecified scene.

Other roles the producers are looking to fill: a frail and thin nine year old version of Hughes, his “genteel, Texan and upper class“ mother, an engineer who will be present at the take-off of the new H-1 airplane developed and flown by Hughes and a director of cinematography for “Hell’s Angels.” In addition, the producers are looking for great 1920’s and1930’s period character faces.

Shooting will take place in both Los Angeles and Canada.

If you feel you are suitable for any of these roles, please feel free to have your agent contact either the production company or the casting directors.


The Scorecard
Director: Martin Scorsese
Producers: Michael Mann, Graham King
Writer: John Logan
Casting Director: Ellen Lewis
Production Companies: Forward Pass/IEG/Appian Way Productions
Shoot Date: Early July 2003
Location: Los Angeles/Canada