James Gandolfini a song-and-dance man? O brother, art thou kidding me?

Absolutely not. We're talking the Coen brothers here.

Apparently, O Brother, Where Art Thou? was only a prelude for the ever-quirky tandem. Now, according to Daily Variety, director Joel and writer-producer Ethan Coen are tuning up for an encore to their Oscar-nominated (and Grammy-winning) folksy Depression-era musical odyssey and are eyeing the oversized godfather of The Sopranos to strut his stuff in the lead role.

The duo have reportedly agreed to produce and direct Romance and Cigarettes, a new musical being written by one of their favorite actors, John Turturro. (Aside from O Brother, Turturro starred in the Coens' Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski and Miller's Crossing.)

According to Variety, the story is a cross between the stylized 1981 Steve Martin musical Pennies from Heaven and The Honeymooners (remember, this is the Coen brothers) and takes place in Turturro's hometown of Bensonhurst, New York.

Unlike O Brother--in which most of the cast, including star George Clooney, lip-synched to professional musicians--Romance and Cigarettes will follow the lead of Moulin Rouge and have all the actors doing their own singing and dancing.

Gandolfini would make his crooning debut in the film. The actor, who costarred in the Coens' 2001 film The Man Who Wasn't There, is in talks to play the lead, a Ralph Kramden type. The Coens will tailor the shooting schedule to coincide with The Sopranos hiatus in early 2003.

The filmmakers are also hoping to enlist such musical veterans as Susan Sarandon (who shot to fame in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Christopher Walken (who costarred in Pennies from Heaven and showed off his mean dance moves in the Fatboy Slim video "Weapon of Choice"). Other actors being courted for roles include Julia Stiles, Steve Buscemi and Gandolfini's Sopranos sibling (and John Turturro's real-life cousin) Aida Turturro.

Turturro is also trying to persuade his Mr. Deeds costar Adam Sandler to do a cameo in the movie. (Not, we pray, as Opera Man.)

The Coens will begin work on Romance once they put the wraps on Intolerable Cruelty, a black comedy starring Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones that just began production.

With Romance in the pipeline, the renaissance of the Hollywood musical is in full bloom. In addition to the recent O Brother, Moulin Rouge, Dancer in the Dark and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Miramax has huge expectations for the Christmas release of its big-screen version of Bob Fosse's Chicago, starring Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Renée Zellweger .

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