Variety is reporting that two of Hollywood's palest and chilliest stars are joining forces for The Reader. Nicole Kidman and Ralph Fiennes will star in the romance, which is to be based on the international bestselling novel by German writer Bernhard Schlink. IMDb lists Anthony Minghella as director of the film, but it appears that information is inaccurate or has changed. Minghella will produce, along with Sydney Pollack and Scott Rudin. Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) is now set to direct the movie, and David Hare will write the script. The project is something of a reunion of the team that worked on 2002's The Hours. Daldry directed that film, Hare wrote it, Rudin produced it, and it won Kidman a Best Actress Oscar.

The Reader is set in contemporary Germany, where "a man recounts the story of his erotic awakening in a covert love affair with an older woman in the wake of World War II." I assume Fiennes is playing the man recounting his story and Kidman is playing the older woman here? That might be tricky to pull off, considering Kidman is five years younger than Fiennes. And "erotic awakening?" I thought that term wasn't used outside of Cinemax plot descriptions. I must admit, I have a real problem getting into a lot of these period romance films, they all just sort of run together for me. I'm glad Minghella isn't at the wheel, though. Just writing that guy's name makes my eyelids heavy. The Reader was an Oprah's Book Club selection, and with her massive following, the film adaptation should have a built-in audience. Have any of our readers read The Reader? And can you say that three times fast? And what did you think of the book?