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Woodward 'Falls' Into HBO Movie with Newman

Los Angeles (THR) -- In what would be her first screen role in 10 years, Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward is expected to co-star opposite husband Paul Newman in HBO's adaptation of the best-selling novel "Empire Falls."

The project, a comedic look at blue-collar life in the depressed Maine mill town of Empire Falls, centers on Miles Roby, a fortysomething decent guy stuck running Empire Grill, the town's most popular eatery, for 20 years.

Woodward would play Francine Whiting, a controlling and manipulative widow who owns Empire Grill as well as almost everything else in the dead-end town. Newman, who will also serve as an executive producer, has already been attached to play Roby's ne'er-do-well father in the film, which author Richard Russo adapted from his novel. Fred Schepisi ("The In-Laws") is attached to direct.

Woodward's last onscreen performance was in the 1994 CBS telefilm "Breathing Lessons," which earned her Golden Globe and SAG awards, as well as an Emmy nomination.

Woodward won an Oscar for her role in the 1957 feature "The Three Faces of Eve."

Woodward and Newman have appeared together in more than a dozen films, most recently the 1990 feature "Mr. & Mrs. Bridge," which landed Woodward Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Last year, Newman starred in the play "Our Town" at the Westport (Conn.) Country Playhouse, where Woodward is artistic director.


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