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Annette Bening, Zac Efron, Frank Langella, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Frances McDormand, Bette Midler, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, and many more stars hit the big screen this fall. logo
Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt
in Burn After Reading
(© Focus Features)
The annual parade of fall films is about to arrive, and they're chock full of theater ties -- from stage-to-screen adaptations of award-winning plays to theater actors and directors behind of and in front of the camera. Here are TheaterMania's dozen must-see movies for theater lovers. (Note: All release dates are subject to change.)

Burn After Reading
(September 12)
This new film from the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers, which opened this year's prestigious Venice Film Festival, starts out as a fast-paced screwball comedy-thriller about blackmail and the CIA before venturing into unexpected territory. The super-stellar cast includes Frances McDormand, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and Elizabeth Marvel.

The Women
(September 12)
TV scribe Diane English (Murphy Brown) makes her big-screen directorial debut with this updated version of Clare Boothe Luce's all-female play, with a cast headed by Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Eva Mendes, Candice Bergen and (far too little of) Bette Midler. Be warned: this is definitely not the classic bitchfest many of us know and love. In fact, it's more like Sex and the City without the cute waiters.

Nights in Rodanthe
(September 19)
Former Public Theater artistic director George C. Wolfe helms this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel, reuniting Diane Lane and Richard Gere, who set off their own sparks in Unfaithful. Rest assured, they're ready to do it again as an unhappily married woman and a doctor who meet during a storm in the tiny North Carolina town. The impressive supporting cast includes James Franco, Christopher Meloni, Scott Glenn, Viola Davis, and Pablo Schreiber.

Lakeview Terrace
(September 19)
Celebrated playwright Neil LaBute (working off a script co-authored by Boys' Life playwright Howard Korder) gets in the director chair for this story of an LAPD officer (a really nasty Samuel L. Jackson), who seriously disapproves of new neighbors Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington's interracial relationship.

Brad Henke and Sam Rockwell in Choke
(© Fox Searchlight)
(September 26)
This darkly comic version of Chuck Palahniuk's acclaimed novel about sex addiction is directed by Atlantic Theater Company stalwart Clark Gregg and features Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston as a conflicted mother and son. Look for cameos from a host of theater favorites -- most notably, Tony Award winner Joel Grey.

(October 3)
This old-fashioned Western, written and directed by stage vet Ed Harris, tells the story of two lawmen (Harris and Viggo Mortensen), both in love with the same woman (Renee Zellweger), who must fight together to save their town. If that's not enough for you, Jeremy Irons plays the bad guy!

Rachel Getting Married
(October 3)
Jonathan Demme's latest stars Anne Hathaway as the prodigal daughter who comes home just in time to wreak havoc on the nuptials of her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt). Bill Irwin, Debra Winger, and Anna Deavere Smith headline the supporting cast.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year
(October 24)
Teenagers -- and maybe even their parents -- get ready to rejoice as this feature film sequel to the Disney Channel megahit brings all the Wildcats to the big screen -- most notably lovebirds Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Ann Hudgens) -- as they stage a musical about the uncertainty of the future after high school.

Synecdoche, NY
(October 24)
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a New York-based theater director whose art begins to imitate his life. The film's theater-centric cast also includes Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan, Stephen Adly Gurguis, Hope Davis, Robin Weigert, Paul Sparks, and Lynn Cohen.

Frank Langella and Michael Sheen in Frost/Nixon
(© Universal Pictures)
(November 26)
Moulin Rouge (and La Boheme) director Baz Luhrmann has enlisted the equally beautiful Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman as a mismatched duo who must drive 2,000 head of cattle away from the Japanese bombing of Northern Australia.

(December 5)
Director Ron Howard brings Peter Morgan's stage play to the screen replete with both its stage stars: Tony Award winner Frank Langella as Richard M. Nixon and Michael Sheen as talk show host David Frost. Rounding out the cast are such familiar stage and screen faces as Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Kate Jennings Grant, Rebecca Hall -- and the 'bad seed' herself, Patty McCormack as Pat Nixon.

(December 12)
John Patrick Shanley's film version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play boasts the nothing-to-sneeze-at quartet of Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis as the combatants in the moral battle between an older nun, a priest, a younger nun, and a troubled mother.

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