Missy Schwartz
August 15, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Long before their Bend It Like Beckham scored, director Gurinder Chadha and writing partner Paul Mayeda Berges were ready to roll cameras on their $18 million Jane Austen-meets-Bollywood musical, Bride and Prejudice, now shooting in England. ”We’d written this before Beckham,” says Chadha. ”But it made sense to do it after because it’s bigger.” Though ”loyal to the novel,” Chadha’s version has an international twist, with an American Mr. Darcy (The Ring’s Martin Henderson, himself a Kiwi), an Indian Lizzie Bennet (Aishwarya Rai), and a British-Asian Mr. Bingley (The English Patient’s Naveen Andrews), all of whom sing and dance across three continents (production will continue in India before moving to L.A.). Even the crew is multicultural, which makes for English-Punjabi-Hindi tongue twisting on set. Says Chadha: ”I have to direct in three different languages!”

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