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Paltrow to Play Germany's Ultimate Diva

Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow is slated to play German screen siren Marlene Dietrich in a new Hollywood movie adapted from a memoir written by Dietrich's daughter, Maria Riva.


Paltrow is to both produce and star in the Dietrich film

There may not be a strong physical resemblance, but Marlene Dietrich's grandson, Peter Riva, thinks Gwyneth Paltrow has what it takes to play the sultry German film diva.

"She has the stillness required in an aristocrat, and the ability to plumb the depths of character without too much emotion, which was Marlene's trademark," Riva told film industry newspaper Variety.

No date set

Paltrow has signed on to play Dietrich in a DreamWorks film adapted from a memoir written by the actor's daughter, Maria Riva. No timetable has yet been set. Paltrow is expected to take a break from acting to spend time with her infant daughter, Apple -- her first child with Coldplay singer Chris Martin.

Marlene Dietrich endlich Ehrenbürgerin

Marlene Dietrich in a typical Hollywood film diva pose.

When cameras finally do roll, Dietrich's descendants are confident that Paltrow will do the part justice. One of the challenges will be reproducing Dietrich's distinctive, accented English. Her famous husky singing voice, however, should not present any problems.

"Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald taught Marlene how to maximize her limited vocal range," Riva said. "Gwyneth is a much better singer. She'll just have to sultry up her voice a bit."

Paltrow will also be busy behind the scenes as co-producer along with partners David Nicksay and Jess Money, who will write the script based on Maria Riva's biography of her mother.

Unflattering account

Deutschland Geschichte Film Filmszene Der blaue Engel mit Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich as Berlin cabaret singer Lola in Josef von Sternberg's "The Blue Angel," 1930.

Written with Dietrich's permission while she was still alive, the biography has been described as an objective, unflattering account of Dietrich's rise to fame starting with her portrayal of a Berlin nightclub singer in Josef von Sternberg's 1930 film "The Blue Angel."

Dietrich moved to Hollywood where she had a string of starring roles in pre-World War II films before reinventing herself as a songstress.

In 1937, Nazi agents asked her to return to Germany, but she refused. After becoming a U.S. citizen in 1939, Dietrich spent the war performing for U.S. troops and recording anti-Nazi broadcasts to be transmitted to Germany.

Dietrich died in Paris in 1992 and is buried in Berlin.

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  • Date 28.05.2004
  • Author DW staff (dc)
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/57QS
  • Date 28.05.2004
  • Author DW staff (dc)
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/57QS