Javier Bardem drops out of Tetro

It’s not every day one of the main characters in a film changes sex before a frame has been shot, though it can happen – just ask Jodie Foster, who nabbed a role written for a bloke in Flightplan.

But Francis Ford Coppola has made a slightly different change to his next indie effort, Tetro. He’s switched the mentor character for Vincent Gallo’s titular lead from a man (Javier Bardem) to a woman (Carmen Maura). Coppola explained it thus: “I originally wrote it for a man," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "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."

According to the Reporter, however, it seems that Bardem suddenly became unavailable. And he’s now busy reading drafts of the script for the musical Nine, which will start shooting later in the year.

Coppola meanwhile is ploughing ahead, and has just started shooting. Check out The Hollywood Reporter’s story for more .