Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, and Christine Baranski are in negotiations to round out the cast of Miramax's big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical "Chicago." Shooting begins shooting Dec. 10 w

Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, and Christine Baranski are in negotiations to round out the cast of Miramax's big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical "Chicago." Shooting begins shooting Dec. 10 with Rob Marshall directing. Already set for the lead roles are Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart, a chorus girl on trial for the murder of her lover; Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly, a tough murderess who befriends Roxie in jail; and Richard Gere as Billy Flynn, the slick lawyer who represents the two women.

Queen Latifah will play no-nonsense prison matron Mama Morton, who presides over the Cook County Jail. Reilly is in line to play Amos Hart, Roxie's sad-sack husband who complains in his "Mr. Cellophane" number that everyone looks right through him, and Christine Baranski will step into the high heels of Mary Sunshine, the tabloid newspaper reporter who covers Roxie's trial.

In past stage productions, the role of Sunshine has usually been played by a man in drag. The casting of Baranski breaks with tradition by having a woman play the part. The show was revived in 1996, winning six Tony Awards and attracting the interest of Mirimax's Harvey Weinstein, who has been pursuing a film version for several years.

Queen Latifah will segue into "Chicago" after she wraps Fox Searchlight Pictures' urban love story "Brown Sugar."